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F R E E TA K E O N E

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL

Louisiana‛s Film Industry has Oscar Taking Notice!

magazin magazine Vol 31 February 2013

FOUR Academy Award Nominations! WE KEEP IT FRESH

SAY KEEP IT POSITIVE


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By Kendra Maness

Okay, let’s review… We’ve got Spring weather pouring sunshine on us, the cultural arts/ festival season is right around the corner, and three HUGE events are putting Louisiana culture on the map for 2013: The Superbowl, Mardi Gras, and the FOUR TIME Oscar nominated Louisiana film, Beasts of the Southern Wild. This edition of Slidell Magazine highlights each of these historic events, the impact they will have on our state, and the wonderful people that helped to make it all happen. Plus, an added bonus – America’s Got Talent will be in town, auditioning contestants in New Orleans on February 15 & 16. Slidell Magazine’s contributing writer Kim Bergeron has been front and center, talking to the producers of AGT and scoring 5 passes for talented Slidell hopefuls to skip through to the second round of auditions. For now, Kim gives us a sneak peak of three contestants’ journeys. Look for the full scoop from the auditions in March’s edition.

Slidellians are about to be tested. Do we truly offer the best in food, art, entertainment, lodging and Southern hospitality north of the Lake? You bet we do! Are we a respite for the out of town visitors who seek to escape the crowds of New Orleans and get the experience of being treated like family, not tourists? Yes indeed, we are! If you are out in Slidell over the next few weeks and you see an unfamiliar face, be sure to wave and say hello. They may be a visitor to our wonderful city and your hospitality will make their stay an even better experience. Or, you may be waving to a local Slidell resident that you don’t know. What a great opportunity to spread some good cheer in our community, and maybe even make a few new friends in the process!

GOOD CHEER MY FELLOW SLIDELLIANS!

With all of the happenings in and around New Orleans, Slidell’s about to get REAL busy. Just try to book a hotel room in New Orleans during the month of February – all of the search sites send you to Slidell. And that’s a VERY good thing!

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Extraordinarily Fascinating “Ordinary” Person of the Month by Nancy Richardson

I

“The Accidental Artist”

n the fall of 2012, the City of Slidell Cultural Arts Department hosted an exhibit showcasing the amazing work of a little known artist currently living here in Slidell. The show was named “The Accidental Artist”. Everyone who displayed their work in the show had never intended to be an artist, discovering their talent by “accident.” Amongst the colorful displays of paintings and pottery were the brilliant works of talented artist Kenny Bridges. Everyone that viewed Kenny’s work was impressed by it. One of the many people in attendance was Police Chief Randy Smith, who commented, “Kenny’s talent is something to brag about. We in Slidell are fortunate to get Kenny here. He has a true gift!” And Chief Smith should know – Kenny Bridges is currently a resident of his City of Slidell jail, serving his fifteenth year of an 18 year sentence. Kenny was at first looking at 60 years for drug possession. It was his second conviction. He tells how it happened:

“I was 23 years old, in 1998. I never really did any mischief. I was really the class clown, fun to be around in high school. Then I had sort of a downward spiral.” Kenny had a job working as a structure fitter in Covington. As he talked with his fellow workers over lunch about his use of recreational drugs, they would ask him to get them some. And he would. The switch from user to seller happened that fast and that simply. As word got out, though, police were informed and a sting operation was set up. “I haven’t been home since,” says Kenny. Two years before, Kenny was convicted of his first drug possession charge for which he received probation. He was told that with this second arrest, he was looking at 60 years. He had just gotten married, bought a house and was expecting a baby boy. Kenny was not a violent person but, because of his poor choices, he was labeled a career criminal. Kenny pled guilty and was sentenced to 18 years. Getting off the bus in prison, Kenny says that he was sick at heart, couldn’t eat, lost

Kenny Bridges February 2013

a lot of weight and was, quite frankly, pretty intimidated. He wasn’t raised in a “prison culture” so this was a whole new world for him. “I was looking and feeling pretty bad,” he recalls. His son would be 18 when Kenny got out. Kenny sat in the dorm looking around and observed that some prisoners let the time eat them up and had to be sedated. Kenny didn’t want to let that happen to him. But, he saw others who used their time to good advantage. “I worried about what I’d tell my son that I learned to do when I got out.” One day, to ward off boredom and depression, Kenny started drawing people in a magazine. “I drew everybody in that magazine. I drew them over and over again until I got better,” Kenny says. After a few years, Kenny was being housed with a man named Armando who was the most talented artist Kenny had ever met. “Airbrushing, charcoal, any medium, Armando just knew what to do with it all. He gave me pointers.” Armando challenged Kenny to draw something every night. He imitates Armando’s strong Cuban accent as he remembers, “If I was sitting there playing


Ace

Scrabble, he would ask me, ‘Are you going to be a professional Scrabble player? You draw picture today? No, then I not waste my time!” So I’d get up and go draw. After awhile, I got pretty good. Sometimes I had to wait in the dorm til 2 or 3 AM when it finally got quiet so I could draw, and I would draw all the way to breakfast. Picture drawing took my mind off my situation.” At the time, he was at a prison just north of Bogalusa. Armando was put in charge of painting a huge mural in town with a local artist using free prison labor. The mural was 360 feet long and 25 feet high. Armando requested Kenny’s help on the project and assigned him just to draw the huge pictures of the city hall and other buildings. Armando would follow up with paint. Having never worked on anything so large, Kenny admits to being a bit unsure. Kenny laughs, “I painted it with no shading or anything, because I hadn’t learned how to shade with paint. I had only used pencil before and on a much smaller scale. Everything looked cartoonish, but it started the ball rolling for me with color.” He says, “It was like I just knew how to paint before I ever started. I needed help learning which brush to use to get the result I wanted, but painting just came easy for me.” After the mural’s completion, Kenny got a job in the prison paint shop where they created signs and posters for local events in Bogalusa. The warden was impressed with Kenny’s work and his positive attitude. He had earned the trust of the warden – something Kenny treasured and respected – and it was a situation that would repeat itself again and again.

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Soon, Kenny was moved to Alexandria, LA to another prison that had a new warden with a vision for changing the prison environment. Warden Thompson said, “You’re here because I want you here. You’re my artist. You’re going to make this place more colorful!” The warden had been promoted to that prison to improve morale. By making the environment more pleasing and soothing, the warden felt that he would be one step closer to accomplishing his goal.

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Kenny recalls, “The warden asked me if I could do silk screening, for shirts and fabric. I never had, but knew I could learn.” Purchasing a silkscreen machine proved to be beyond the budget, so Kenny built one himself and began a shirt printing operation. From there, he began painted murals throughout the prison. Kenny laughs when remembering, “It took some time, but people started getting it. And life was better for everyone.”

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Kenny works high above on the scaffold of the Public Operations mural In the fall of 2006, Kenny was transferred back to Bogalusa, leaving a legacy of beautiful artwork behind for the Alexandria prisoners. Warden Thompson and Kenny are still in contact and remain very good friends. Back in his original paint shop, Kenny picked right up where he had left off. But he worried about what would come after prison. He had been labeled a career criminal. What kind of career could he have that would make his son proud? Kenny began a new journey then – a spiritual awakening. He studied religion and became centered. “I know ME and have self confidence. My life has balance.” He feels that it can’t be just words; it has to be internal. Mind, body, and soul must be in balance. “When I walk out of prison and my son Gavin asks what I did, I want to show him that I did the best I could possibly do every day. Show him, not tell him. You have to lead by example.”

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Some of the detail of the multiple murals painted by Kenny in the Slidell Train Depot In 2011, Kenny was transferred to the Slidell prison, through no small stroke of luck and effort. Slidell mayor Freddy Drennan and Police Chief Randy Smith had heard about the talented young artist serving in the Bogalusa prison and had seen some of Kenny’s artwork throughout the town. Chief Smith says, “The mayor and I each wrote a letter to the warden there and requested to borrow Kenny’s services if he was available. We really wanted him to utilize his talents in and around Slidell.” Beautifying Slidell through art, particularly since the hurricane, has been a priority of the City of Slidell’s Cultural Arts Department. Amongst his other


tasks, Kenny painted a series of murals in Slidell’s historic train station and completed a breathtaking and HUGE mural project on the Public Operations buildings next to Heritage Park. Mayor Drennan laughs and says, “Now that we have him [Kenny], we’re not giving him back! Bogalusa can’t have him – he’s doing too much good work here!” Kenny is still learning about art, and life. “It’s a blessing to be around the Chief and to be able to see behind the scenes on how he runs the Police Department. I believe his philosophy is simple: Just follow your heart with pure intentions.” At “The Accidental Artist” show last fall, Mayor Drennan and Chief Smith were both in attendance to encourage and promote the talent of their young artist. Chief Smith says, “At the exhibit, I was really amazed at his talent. There’s a lot of creativity in his work. Plus, all the art he’s done in and around the city. Kenny’s been a real asset to us, we’ve been fortunate to have him. He’s a role model trustee at our facility. We’ll miss him when he’s gone and we’re hopeful that he’ll have a successful career in art in the future.”

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“Jazz” - Acrylic painting by Kenny Bridges

What will Kenny do when he is released in three years? He plans to establish an art studio, named Bridges Studio 1201. Why 1201? Kenny feels that 1201 represents the first minute of each new day…a new beginning. One of the things that Bridges Studio 1201 will produce is hand painted pirogues which he makes now in his little prison studio, and for which there is a huge demand. He has found a way to mass produce them using vinyl graphics with a two-part epoxy on top. His brother builds the boats and Kenny finishes them. The boats will provide his primary income, allowing Kenny time to do his serious painting. It’s not just about Kenny’s amazing talent, but more his triumphant attitude and will to make the most of a very bad situation. Kenny feels that painting gave him a sense of pride and earned him the respect of others. He believes that his prison sentence has helped make him who he is today and he loves who he has become. Kenny Bridges made a decision a long time ago not to become a product of his environment, but to improve the environment around him. A lot of folks believe he has done exactly that. This writer can’t wait for Bridges Studio 1201 to open shop--outside the Slidell jail.

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by Jeff Perret, DVM

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MYTHBUSTERS Last year around this time, I wrote a column that busted a few common myths regarding animal health. Five or six items, with a little commentary on each one. But I decided to continue compiling a mental list of various pet-related myths and misinformation. I come across these gems from many

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sources, including popular media, family and friends, and of course, my own clients. So here’s a list of some of my favorites. All of the following statements have two things in common: I’ve heard or read every one of them presented as fact by a sincere believer; and they’re all false.

Used motor oil, poured over a dog’s coat, will cure mange. The warmth/coolness/wetness/dryness of a dog’s nose is a reliable indicator of his health or illness. Allowing a female dog to go through at least one heat cycle (or have one litter) is healthy, or “calms her down.” Neutering a male dog will make him fat, or lazy, or depressed. Corn is bad for dogs, and should never be in their food. Home-cooked, or even raw food, is better for pets than commercial diets. (I think this one deserves its own column one day.) “My dog isn’t in pain, he’s just limping. If he was in pain, he’d be crying out.” Genetic diseases like Canine Hip Dysplasia can be eliminated in 5 (or 10, or however-many) generations of careful “breeding out.” A dog can’t get heartworms, Parvo Virus, intestinal parasites, or other diseases if he lives inside, or never leaves the yard. If a dog is nervous, skittish or submissive, he must have been abused by a previous owner. A dog who rubs her butt along the ground (“scoots”) must have worms. (Ask your veterinarian to explain what anal sacs are.) If my dog is scratching, he must have fleas. My pet can’t have fleas if I don’t see them, or if they’re not biting me and my family. Garlic or brewer’s yeast will control fleas. Cropping a dog’s ears will prevent infections. Vaccinations do more harm than good. Dogs eat grass purposely, to make themselves vomit. Cats and dogs spray or soil in the house out of spite or anger. Dogs eat their own feces (or the cat’s) to correct a dietary insufficiency. If a dog or cat has intestinal parasites, they’ll always be visible in the stool. Well that’s 20. I could probably come up with 20 more, but I’ll just keep some in my hip pocket for a rainy day. If you just KNOW that one of these statements is true, talk it over with me, or with your veterinarian. And if your veterinarian says one of them is true, I guess you can have him or her call me. I’m always up for a spirited debate :-) Dr. Jeff recommends using:

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Frankly

By Frank Davis

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule! Note from Slidell Magazine: This month’s Frankly Slidell is a short one – but a great one, as always! Frank’s been super busy tackling new challenges and preparing for next month’s edition of Slidell Magazine, where he will have a feature story telling us all about his adventures. For now, he teases us with a tantalizing taste of Carnival! After spending daylight until dark on Carnival Day on the streets of New Orleans, you’re more than ready to head home to a hot, wonderful, home-cooked meal! A meal of substance, a meal far from any semblance of fast food! But who feels like going home to cook after a day of Mardi Gras-ing? So there’s only one way to have that hot meal waiting! You look for something easy to cook and easy to store. Here’s the recipe:

Mardi Gras Parade Pork 2-3 pounds country-style ribs 1/3 cup Frank Davis Pork Seasoning 1 tablespoon sea or kosher salt 1 teaspoon fresh ground cracked pepper 2 extra large yellow onions, peeled and sliced into rings 3/4 cup dry white wine 1 can chicken stock, 10oz 1 disposable full-size hotel pan 1 large sheet plastic wrap (the kind that’s safe for ovens) 1 large sheet HD aluminum foil 36oz Sweet Texas Barbecue Sauce 1 dozen toasted hamburger buns

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay out the ribs and sprinkle liberally with Frank Davis Pork Seasoning. When uniformly coated, place them into the pan on top of a layer of freshly sliced yellow onion half-rings, laying them side by side. (Touching is best since they maintain their juiciness and keep each other from falling apart!) Cover the ribs and onions first with the sheet of

plastic wrap then with a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and seal them tightly. Bake the pork ribs for 3 hours! It will take this long for them to reach the “shreddable stage.” After baking, move the “overly tender” ribs to a holding platter and allow them to cool to the touch. (Discard the pan liquor and fat) process.) When cooled, shred the meat, using two dinner forks. Take your time - you don’t want thick, unshredded chunks of pork on your sandwich. Then, pour on and work into the shreds the barbecue sauce mixed with wine and chicken stock. Note: Most pulled pork recipes call for a generous addition of sauce, so that no further condiments are necessary. My philosophy is this is YOUR pulled pork, so make it as dry or as sloppy as you want it. Pile the pork (plus extra barbecue sauce if desired) onto a toasted bun half. Eat them right away, piping hot, served with fresh succulent coleslaw and Crockpot roasted red potatoes and butter. It’s perfect when you return from a day on the streets at Mardi Gras!

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Academy Awards ABC, 8pm GOOD LUCK BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD!

4

Ambassador Club Chesterfield’s 12 noon

Education Committee Chamber Boardroom 8:30am

Free Continuing Education Class Microsoft PowerPoint Slidell Branch Library 10-12pm

MON

Technology Committee Mtg Chamber Boardroom 8:30am

Storytime • Slidell Library Ages 2mo-2yrs: 9:30am Ages 3-5: 10:30am

5

Grand Opening/ Ribbon Cutting Iberia Bank • 3-5pm

Long Term Care Workshop Pontchartrain Investment Mgmt • 6pm

Grand Opening/ Ribbon Cutting LV Nails & Hair Spa • 3-5pm

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Bayou Title’s Continuing Education “Successions and Donations” ABEK Realty 1-5pm

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Krewe of Chahta-Ima Lacombe 1pm

Happy Mardi Gras!

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Business After Hours Slidell Athletic Club 5-7pm

EYP Quarterly Luncheon Nathan’s Restaurant 11:30-1pm

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Every Saturday Camellia City Farmer’s Market

Krewe of Salt Bayou 2pm

Pearl River Roller Derby Northshore Harbor Center

MARCH

Arts Evening 2013 Olde Towne • 4:30-9pm

“Streetcar Named Desire” Slidell Little Theatre • 8pm “Sweeny Todd” Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm “Sweeny Todd” Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm

9

Jag Fest Pope John Paul • 7pm

Picasso, Miro’ and Matisse Art Exhibit City of Slidell Gallery (Show runs thru 4/13)

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“Streetcar Named Desire” Slidell Little Theatre • 8pm

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“Sweeny Todd” Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm

“Streetcar Named Desire” Slidell Little Theatre • 8pm

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Slidell Gun and Knife Show Northshore Harbor Center

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Inner Wheel 1 Mile Walk Camp Salmen Nature Park 9am Gumbo Cook-Off Slidell Little Theatre

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America’s Got Talent Auditions Convention Center, New Orleans Register at www.AGTauditions.com

Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting Mimosas • 3-5pm

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Public Policy Committee Chamber Boardroom 8am

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St. Margaret Mary Open House K-8th Grade 7pm

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Big Brother, Big Sister Workshop for ages 3-10 SMH 3:30-5:30pm

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“Into the Woods” Slidell Little Theatre • 2pm

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F E B R U A R Y


M

Valentines

My first thought would be that the windows were about five feet off the floor of the old school building. This comes to mind because I remember the window ledge being at a height that you could c ould rest your chin on. The truth is, in grammar g rammar school we were not that tall so I suppose the windows were about three feet from the floor. Underneath the window was a wooden molding that ran the entire length of the exterior wall of the classroom and this would be where envelopes were tacked. These envelopes were large, and were given to each child by the school. You could take the envelope home and decorate it, and this is what some did, especially the girls. Most of us boys just wrote our names on the outside. We did not have time for things like that, we just looked forward to the heart shaped cookies that the room mothers would bring Valentine afternoon. The decorated or not-so-decorated envelopes would serve as the depository for the Valentines that we would receive from out fellow classmates The molding where the packages were attached was well worn, showing evidence of many years of “Be My Valentine Wishes”. Even at a young age I was impressed at the talent with which

Sandra was not what you would call a sweet child. She would throw temper tantrums in front of the class and pull other girl’s hair. Once, she even slapped one of the boys because he stuck a note on the back of her dress that said “kick me please”. Needless to say, she was not our favorite classmate.

some of the envelopes were decorated. Looking back, I am sure these were done by the mothers trying to relive their youth through the lives of their daughters. Of all the envelopes that were hung on the wall, none stood out more than Sandra’s. Except for the personal decorating, all the envelopes that were issued were alike, but somehow every year Sandra lost hers and she replaced it with the most elaborately decorated of all. One year it had real flowers attached. Her mother just happened to be a florist. The most unusual thing was that the replacement envelope was smaller than the ones issued by the school. This was intentional, to make the other girls jealous. Her envelope would be brimming with valentines and give the appearance that she got more than anyone else.

She was pretty however, and had the blondest hair of any child in our school. Little did we know her mother was coloring it even at that young age. I have recently learned from a mutual friend that her mother used lemon juice and peroxide. The rules were that you had to give everyone in the class a valentine. Even if you did not like them, you were required to give one to each classmate. One of the local churches protested as they did not think it appropriate for boys to give boys, or girls to give girls, valentines. I suppose this was the forerunner of the same sex marriage debate. Imagine, it all began in my very own grammar school fifty-five years ago. After this, your parents could opt you out of the valentine exchange, but I don’t think anyone did. In those days you had one teacher all day long for the entire year. If she did not like you or you did not like her it was

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too bad. It would be nine months of purgatory for both of you. Such was the case with my fourth grade teacher, Miss Inez. Even today, I don’t like her and completely understand why she was a Miss and not a Mrs. In the 1950’s she dressed retro - and I mean sixty years retro. I have seen pictures of women in the 1890’s that look just like her. Her hair was parted down the middle, pulled tightly to the back of her head and fashioned in a round bun. She wore a white long sleeve blouse with not-too-frilly lace on the front. It had a high collar and in the center was a large brooch. This just made her Adam’s apple appear larger. The shoulders of the blouse were puffed and she wore something like men’s cuff links at her wrist. Her dress was black and extended down to about six inches above her ankles. Then her shoes; that is what I remember most. They had a slight heel, and the leather came up to the top of her ankles, laced up all the way. She had a little hook device that she would use to tighten the laces on occasion. Finally, she wore some kind of stockings that could be seen in that six inches of exposed body. They looked like men’s long john underwear. In addition to this she was ugly. We used to play a game. We called it “How Ugly is Miss Inez.” Some kid would say, “Do you know how ugly Miss Inez is?” Then the reply could be any of the following: “So ugly she would make a maggot gag.” Some other kid would add, “She is so ugly she would scare a booger.” And someone would ultimately say that she was so ugly that her mother had to tie a pork chop around her neck so the dogs would play with her. She was a task master and the things that were supposed to be fun she made drudgery. She taught, corrected, scolded and criticized us from the morning bell until the dismissal bell. Ohh, she was mean. I remember, even

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our class play, which was supposed to be fun, she turned into a posture lesson. We all had to go through play practice with a book balanced on our heads. What this did for posture or teaching us the appropriate way to walk is beside me.

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In my case, one of my lines had the word “our” in it. She kept me after school for one hour making me pronounce it differently. It sounded to me like I was pronouncing it just like she was, but she assured me she had never spoken in such a rural dialect. About three weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, she passed out the envelopes and, in true schoolmarm fashion, she gave us an assignment. We had to create a different homemade valentine for each class mate. The verse written inside would be our literature grade, the design would be our art grade and the writing would be our cursive grade.

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I turned in my first ten for her approval. Instead of telling me the errors, and there were plenty, she just took a red pen and marked on each one. I had to redo them from scratch. She said my verse had poor meter, my art work was not conducive to Valentine’s Day and my cursive was a mixture of print and cursive (which I use to this day, but not good in her opinion). I was not the only one she picked on, but she clearly picked on the boys more than the girls. Just for fun, I made a valentine for her. I never intended for her to get it but things never worked out in a good way for her and me. I did my best to make it pretty on the outside so it would look authentic. On the inside I wrote: Ole Miss Inez was a merry old soul, She had a tin pan belly And a rubber a**hole. I showed it to some of the boys in the class and they thought it was funny. Sandra snatched it from one of my friends and immediately took it to the front of the room and gave it to Miss Inez. I do not think I have ever seen more anger displayed on the face of anyone. She started towards me and grabbed me by the ear, pulling me down the hall, down the stairs and all the way to the principal’s office. I sat outside of the closed door while she described my transgressions on the other side. Then she came out, walked past me without looking and went back to the class room as I sat on the other side of the door that remained closed. In about thirty seconds I heard the loudest laughing that I ever heard come from behind a principal’s door. I knew then

16


that I would not get a paddling and was somewhat relieved. Finally, the principal came out. He tried to be authoritative and stern but he could hardly contain his laughter. He told me that something like that should never happen again, and it did not. But something else did. I swore vengeance on Sandra and I always wanted to torment Miss Inez. She too had an envelope on the wall for us to deposit our Valentines addressed to her in. I found one of Sandra’s Valentines a few days earlier that she had discarded to make corrections, as ordered by Miss Inez.

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For some reason, our school had been invaded by ants. They were everywhere and care was taken to not allow any sweets in the class room. I took Sandra’s valentine and spread syrup on it and secretly put it in Miss Inez’s envelope.

Year-R ound Care

By the afternoon of Valentine’s Day, a steady stream of little black ants were marching up the wall and into her package. She freaked out and broke out into hives (as she did when she got excited) but at this point, she did not have any idea why the ants were attracted to her envelope and no one else’s. She called the janitor.

6 weeks thru Pre-K

He removed the package and poured all the contents in a bucket. Soon Sandra was discovered as the culprit and was sent to the principal’s office. She missed the heart shaped cookies the room mothers brought. Miss Inez asked for someone from the principal’s office to watch her class because she needed to go home. I killed two birds with one stone, and I could tell the rest of the class was proud of me. I wouldn’t say I was awarded, but I was the hero on that Valentine’s Day.

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I think there was something good that came of this incident, however. As I remember, somehow between the fourth and fifth grade, Sandra’s personality changed. I don’t know if she just matured or she realized that, no matter what her mom did for her, she could not make the other kids be her friend. When we graduated seven years later, she was a class favorite.

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Making ₵ents

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An ounce of prevention... If you know something's going to be a problem, why not take care of it now? A couple of months ago, I found a nail in one of the rear tires on my car. I had noticed a slow leak for a while and, sure enough, a roofing nail was the culprit.

fixed right away. “I’ll get it taken care of soon,” I told myself, “when I have time.” Of course, I kept putting off the “have time” part and, well, you can probably guess what happened. By the way, changing a flat tire in the rain before you go to work is a great way to ruin your day.

But, then, I did a dumb thing. Even though I knew – I just knew – that nail would become a problem at some point, I didn’t get my tire

When you know something is likely to be a problem, it probably makes sense to take care of it before it blows up in your face. A nail in

They protected their retirement money from the staggering cost of Long Term Care.

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by Mike Rich

your tire is bad enough, but, when it comes to your financial security, it really makes sense to be proactive. Thinking like we do about money here at Pontchartrain Investment Management, it’s difficult to imagine a potential problem that’s bigger than the staggering cost of long term care and how it can destroy your retirement money. Frankly, it scares the heck out of us, so Andy, Chris, Steve, and I are on a mission to make sure it doesn’t happen to our clients. In fact, because the problem is so potentially huge, we’re devoting this month’s workshop to the subject, and we want you to attend. Here are some things we’ll be talking about: 1.) A lot of people are likely to need long term care, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be one of them. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services has reported that about 70% of people aged 65 or older are going to need some type of long term care before they die.1 Whether that care is given in a nursing home, assisted living facility, daytime program, or in the home, seven out of ten of us are going to need assistance with eating, dressing, bathing, using the bathroom, transferring (for example, moving from a bed to a chair), or continence, or we’re going to have a significant mental impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and will need care to manage our lives. We or our family members are either going to have to 1) pay for it out of pocket or with insurance, or 2) figure out how to provide the care ourselves without going broke. Of course, you might be one of the three out of ten who won't need care. We hope so. However, it’s troubling to witness how long term care can affect even the folks who don’t need it themselves. Our clients who are caring for aging parents or family members without the time or money to do it properly have a real mess on their hands (for example, stop working, chip in money, give up family life, fight with siblings over whose job it is to sit with dad next, whatever). The clear message is this: if your parents don’t yet have a strategy


for their care, it might be a good idea to sit down with them and talk about how they intend to handle and pay for it. Do it now, before they need it. It’s nearly impossible to fix the problem later. As for yourself? Ditto. 2.) Long term care is expensive. Lucky for us, we live in Louisiana. Among the many blessings we enjoy here – Mardi Gras, crawfish boils, year-round fishing, drive-through daiquiri shops – you can also count lower-cost long term care. The average annual cost of a private room nursing home stay in our state is about $54,000.2 If we all lived in Alaska, it would be about $230,0002 (it’s really cold there, too). However, even though prices are lower here, they can add up fast, and you don’t have to be a financial genius to figure out how quickly a retirement account could be brought to its knees when thousands of dollars a month have to be shelled out for someone to take care of you. Even in-home care at $16 an hour2 can add up quickly. Don’t waste your retirement money on long term care! Get someone else (like an insurance company) to pay for it. 3.) Speaking of paying for it, there are several ways. The biggest push-back we hear from clients about traditional long term care insurance is that they might not need it and will have shelled out premium payments “for nothing.” As useful as traditional insurance can be, there are other ways that are not “use-or-lose.” For example, you can use life insurance not only for the death benefit, but for a long term care benefit, as well.3 If this sounds intriguing, call us, and we’ll share the details with you.

An unfunded long term care need is a problem that’s just waiting to happen. With a 70% chance of it happening to you or your spouse (or a parent or other loved one) and potentially blasting a big hole through your hard-won retirement nest egg, don’t you think it makes sense to put a plan in place now to protect your money so you can enjoy it, rather than waste it on long term care? If so, don’t do what I did about that nail in my tire and put it off. Call us today, and we’ll go to work for you. Better yet, join us for our workshop here on February 26th.

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

985-605-5066

2242 Carey St. Olde Towne, Slidell, LA Probability of needing LTC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information, 10/22/08 2 Louisiana LTC costs: http://www.genworth.com 3 Benefits are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. 1

19


w

Health & Fitness By Dennis M. Peyroux D.C.

Throw Me Something Mister Many people live in great cities – but there’s none better than New Orleans! Especially this year, with the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras. Let’s face it, we love a good time! This is the time of year people eat their way from Commander’s Palace to Liuzza’s. Mardi Gras is here, our spirit is high, and we are ready to go have fun at this year’s parades. The ability to carry your ice chest filled with Dixie Beer in one hand, your ladder in the other, while carting your throws back to your house takes strength, agility, and sometimes even military endurance training. The Mardi Gras season brings many opportunities for injury. Although many of us love to watch our favorite parades, there are those people who shove, push, and pull while trying to get beads or doubloons. This carnival thing can be hazardous to your health! A good recommendation for all Mardi Gras participants, whether riding or viewing, is to begin a physical fitness program approximately three months before the start of the carnival season. A fitness program would adequately prepare you for anything Mardi Gras has to offer in way of possible injury.

If you are reading this article, you probably have not prepared your body for the physical endurance needed to celebrate Mardi Gras. The following is a list of quick exercises that can be used to get your body ready for the celebrations. (Exercises can be done all at once or they can be broken up into sets. If you are a true beginner, start with 15 reps at a time.)

If this workout is done as listed above, it should take about 45-60 minutes and it will exercise all muscle groups. My advice to you is this: HAVE FUN BUT BE CAREFUL. Celebrate Mardi Gras responsibly and protect those muscles so they don’t become overextended and injured. LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULE!

▪ Twenty minutes of brisk walking ▪ Fifty lunges with fifty air squats ▪ Fifty push-ups ▪ Fifty sit-ups ▪ Twenty minutes of yoga each day

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A Cinematic Feast upon

Look into the wonders and magic of an astounding Louisiana film, its unforgettable cast, and brilliant crew by Dede DeBen I f y o u h a v e n ’t y e t h e a r d o f t h e n a m e Quvenzhane (pron. Kwe-VEN-zhe-n ) Wallis, it’s likely you soon will. She plays the part of Hushpuppy, a frizzled-haired, brave little character and backbone of the Louisiana-filmed phenomenon Beasts of the Southern Wild, now a world-wide phenomenon and Oscar contender.

the unsettling trials of life in the form of an impending apocalypse and ailing health. “Why do people stay where they are when the place they live in is doomed?” is the question behind the film’s theme, yet it also questions the essence of life itself: one’s survival past those inevitable elements that no man can escape: death, disease and catastrophe.

Though Beasts’ beginnings were humble, the film has taken off, skyrocketed even, to become an international success. This February, many of its actors, producers, writers, and director can be seen on the red carpet at Hollywood’s 85th Annual Academy Awards. Beasts has been nominated a thrilling four (rightfully deserving) times in the categories of Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Picture. This puts Beasts vying for Oscars in some of the biggest and most challenging categories, against such heavyweights as Steven Spielberg and the movies Lincoln, Les Miserables, and Argo.

Though poverty is apparent in “The Bathtub,” it isn’t a hindrance to the everyday livelihood of its residents. They lack for nothing, but simply live off of the land, man with man, side by side with Mother Nature. Director Zeitlin says The Bathtub is a “completely unified place” with “no money, no religion, no jobs, or politics.” Schooling also is limited in their world, yet Hushpuppy harnesses

This wondrous little film tells the story of a group of mythical folk and their culture, set deep within the veins of Louisiana along its bayous and back woods, at the tip of our nation’s geographical shrimp boot. It depicts effortlessly the heartbeat of a sinking place called “The Bathtub,” filmed in and inspired by those small strips of land off Terrebone Bay, Montegut and Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana. In this “bathtub” lives main character Hushpuppy (six year old Houma resident Quvenzhane Wallis) and father Wink (NOLA baker and firsttime actor Dwight Henry). It’s a community filled with happiness and camaraderie, wherein tiny but mighty Hushpuppy and father Wink experience together Cover and layout photos by Jess Pinkham, www.JessPinkham.com Special permission for use by Crystal Shin, Fox.

an intuitive and intellectual power through challenging tests brought about by her father and teachings taught by community medicine woman Miss Bathsheba. Hushpuppy cultivates deep within an unshakable inner confidence. Zeitlin calls Hushpuppy “the voice of wisdom.” Hushpuppy’s growing fearlessness and strength show us clearly that she is no pampered princess; she is taught to survive using only her own abilities. Wink teaches his one and only daughter the meaning of survival by challenging her mental and physical toughness as if she was his strong son, and he was preparing her for a foreboding battle, asking her, “Who’s the man?” and she fearlessly responding, “I’m the man!” Native Louisianans will relate endearingly to Hushpuppy’s journey of strength as her white shrimp boots get stuck in marsh mud and as her small hands get stung by a catfish, which her father Wink catches for her barehanded. She uses shrimp skimmers as blankets to cover herself while riding on a boat, something which is familiar to native fisherman and southern Louisianans. Father Wink proves to be a constant burning flame of both love and frustration in Hushpuppy’s fiery soul, and it is just how well she handles this flame that keeps audiences actively engaged throughout every minute of the film. Soon after the apocalypse occurs, ‘beasts’ (extinct aurochs—actually pigs donned with nutria suits) become thawed from polar ice caps then charge down to prey upon Hushpuppy and her Bathtub community. These fierce, ancient animals eventually find Hushpuppy and her home wherein father Wink rests ill in bed. Hushpuppy, now wise and courageous, faces these beasts head-on to survive their attack on her home, making for one of the most stunning scenes of the film. Hushpuppy’s rising degree of bravery makes her well-


equipped to face the largest battle of all: father Wink struggles at home to conquer a losing battle against his time on earth with her. In the end, Hushpuppy transforms into a girl of true, raw grit. She is able to overcome her fears to become a force of nature to be reckoned with. Hushpuppy, in the end, exists as a luminous ornament within her Bathtub community. From the talented efforts of both cast and crew, Beasts has delineated many parts of our Louisiana culture and land to great heights within this uniquely beautiful, mythical tale. It has captured the essence of a fictitious yet hearty people and their way of living in our great state of Louisiana. Remarkably intricate set designs organically crafted and in every inch authentic, from custom-made boat houses to floating truck beds, place Beasts in a category all its own, keeping audience’s eyes ever enraptured. And most every Louisianian who loves music will rave over Beasts’ soundtrack, co-composed by Zeitlin and his long-time musician friend and music producer Dan Romer, with musical pieces performed by talented Louisiana band Lost Bayou Ramblers. Each piece flows seamlessly through each sequence with notes gliding alongside the buzzing of bayou crickets. As Zeitlin states, the film and its music is an “anthem to survivors.” Beasts will leave an indelible mark upon the heart of the viewer and room enough to ask, “Do crabs really have hearts?” and “Why couldn’t the whole world be a ‘Bathtub’?” As the temperature rises for that big Oscar day, perhaps now the Bathtub should be renamed “The Hot Tub.” The Louisiana Adventures Behind Beasts of the Southern Wild In 2008, director Benh Zeitlin began to write a screenplay of what would now become Beasts of the Southern Wild while recuperating in his hometown of New York City from a horrendous car accident. He called upon an old friend, Lucy Alibar, to co-write Beasts with him and to incorporate themes from her play “Juicy and Delicious” into his writings. Soon thereafter, he recovered and returned to a postKatrina Louisiana where he rode down endless southern Louisiana highways, seemingly all leading to nowhere but water. He found the spot for his story in Montegut, Louisiana and Isle de Jean Charles where practically no one lived, and no one knew him. Zeitlin began again to write Beasts on the fishing docks and in a little, borrowed trailer in the back of a befriended residents’ home. He was fundamentally researching and gaining ideas for what would now become the Academy Award nominated Best Picture film, Beasts of the Southern Wild. While scouting for the perfect Beasts’ film location one day, Zeitlin and his sister Eliza were riding in his dilapidated Chevy pick-up truck to Montegut when the engine began to smoke. They exited the vehicle. Then it exploded. “What would character Wink do?” they asked themselves. Zeitlin decided to keep it, to make something out of it—a boat for characters Wink and Hushpuppy. It has since turned into a wise decision and a grand fixture for the movie. Zeitlin and his Beasts’ crew set up shop inside the “Cajun Country Stop” convenient store and bunkered down out back like true artists would, wanting “to live the adventure of the movie,” producer Dan Janvey states, therein little Montegut, Louisiana. They were stationed

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in the swamps of many Louisiana towns—Slidell, Mandeville, Isle de Jean Charles, and largely Montegut, Louisiana—for nearly seven weeks. Zeitlin admits his “primary role on set” was “murdering insects” that bit the likes of cinematographer Ben Richardson. These places posed unpredictable, giant challenges to the home of the production team. Beasts’ first official day of filming began the first day of the 2010 BP oil spill. They wily worked their way through government blocks and restrictions to make some of the scenes you see on film happen. And, during the height of the 2008 recession, another unpredictable nightmare, they were gaining funds for their risk-taking production. But through all of those events, they were led eventually and miraculously to a perfect cure, just like with the exploding truck engine. In conclusion, they had created an island full of freedom and imagination, both for themselves as filmmakers and for the cast that they “populated with their friends and family,” Zeitlin says. Zeitlin’s sister, Eliza, of Beasts’ art department had immersed herself so much onto set that she built Beasts’ official home for Wink by hand, making a tree house in the back woods of Montegut where she lived just as Wink and Hushpuppy would. Hopefully, for her sake, Eliza had a really good mosquito net protecting her bed! Other crew members shoveled road kill off of highways and stored them on set to be used in scenes in the aftermath of the apocalypse. One of many of Zeitlin’s distinct memories from making Beasts was the distinct odor coming from those dead animals: squirrels, fish, raccoons, nutria, even a dead cow. Due North in New Orleans was the beasts headquarters, an abandoned fire station home to the beasts and their trainers and the production team. These “beasts” in reality were adorable, potbellied pigs that donned nutria suits from locally owned and operated Righteous Fur (www.righteousfur.org). Nutria suits and vegetable mist sprayers and highly advanced papier-mâché-looking pig heads - these were a few of the elements that second unit director Ray Tintori decided to work with instead of creating their beasts solely by way of modern computer graphics. The so-called largest looking beasts were moved through the bayou waters by actual people, wading through the waters with outfitted beast heads. Tintori says of the team’s trained pigs: “These pigs needed to be able to do things that no pig could be talked into …” He read up on vintage special effects magazines that showed how films of the eighties worked around complicated aspects of design by using DIY techniques, and then began his modern day mission of raising the wild beasts. Tintori and his beasts’ crew raised from birth numerous little darkhaired pigs, training them to look in a certain direction, walk at a certain pace, and wear certain peculiar outfits. He has stated that the experience thus far was “the best experience” of his film career.

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Watch the film closely - directly after Beasts’ apocalypse scene, flooded and ruined homes along the banks of a bayou are shown. These scenes were proudly filmed along our beautiful Pearl River in Slidell, more than likely off of Indian Village Road.

St. Margaret Mary Catholic School

The Creative Harmony Behind Beasts of the Southern Wild Harmony of heart, freedom and imagination seem to be the key, linking elements that make up the films of Court 13, the NOLAbased production team and creative force behind Beasts of the Southern Wild. The true beasts behind Court 13 to name a few are Benh Zeitlin, Michael Gottwald, Ray Tintori, and Dan Janvey—all former Wesleyan college chums, each accomplished in their own right in the filmmaking circuit, many of whom have attended Cannes and even met with Oprah in the past year (which they never thought in a million years would happen). Gottwald and Josh Penn, another producer of Beasts and part of the Court 13 collective, had produced Zeitlin’s other award-winning films, including his short film that was created on Lake Pontchartrain, Glory at Sea. The process by which Court 13 films are created is a completely new approach to filmmaking. Zeitlin states, “We don’t want to fake it.” Beasts’ script was completely recreated to the language of the actors themselves, how they would speak the words in everyday life, making it all-authentic to the region. Court 13’s filmmaking process may appear simple, but assuredly it is complex in its execution and undertaking: create a story, pick a place, go live there, pick nonprofessional actors who may’ve experienced similar events of the characters, recreate the script around the talk of the actors, film in a 360 degree area to let actors move about freely and authentically, and always be on guard for that perfect moment that can’t be recreated. Whew! As cinematographer Ben Richardson states, the camera “had to also feel the real honesty of the performance.” Therefore, the camera he used was jerry rigged to a type of thickly gauged string that was always eye level with Hushpuppy, so as to see what she saw and the angle at which she saw it. Not only does this approach create a genuine record of a culture and folk of a specific region, but also creates for the film industry a new genre of filmmaking altogether. Director Zeitlin would like other filmmakers from other states and other countries to be inspired to trailblaze likewise and Zeitlin lauds the “fearless, inspiring mentality” of New Orleanians as being one of his many inspirations. Beasts’ cast and crew overcame tremendous obstacles and disheartening setbacks only to keep moving forward with the immeasurable heart, gusto and passion only true artists can render. Mr. Henry had even lost his voice for a few days, pushing his vocal cords to the limit during one scene; he would even work through lunches to rehearse his lines. All these incidences show the tenacity and sheer will behind Beasts’ cast and Court 13 production team, never quitting until the main aspects of their story are right as rain. For instance, before the wisebeyond-her-years adorable Quvenzhane Wallis was cast in Beasts, roughly 4,000 other girls were meticulously looked at for the starring role. And producer Gottwald was relentless in making sure Mr. Henry

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said “yes” to the part of Wink, asking him not twice but four times before he accepted the offer. He pursued Dwight Henry because the crew believed in his incredible true story of survival. Mr. Henry had stayed at his bakery during Hurricane Katrina, and waded in neck high flood waters during its aftermath, refusing to leave or walk away from what he loved. He tells Oprah in his interview with her, “I was Wink.” It is evident that the Court 13 collective holds as large a heart and imagination as does their characters created. Authentic storytelling— building elements by hand, believing in actors’ natural abilities, and living in these places themselves—make up the building blocks of their imaginative, wonder-filled films now and to come. All of the Court 13 members exude an indefinable sort-of magnetism that draws you in and speaks to you, saying, “These guys are up to something really good.” Their type of moviemaking, Zeitlin says, is like “an athletic event.”

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Actress Quvenzhané Wallis with director Benh Zeitlin “The movies are secondary—the tiger chase comes first.” Until then, we will all wait in anticipation for that next big ‘tiger chase’ to be seen on screen, and in the meantime, let’s wish them all tremendously good luck! See Court 13 next on the red carpet at the 85th Academy Awards, airing live on Sunday, February 24th 2013. Their official homecoming back to New Orleans will be held at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans on March 8th, where their many ‘beastly’ creations will be put on display. See Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry next at the Oscars then performing in the upcoming film Twelve Years a Slave. Visit Mr. Henry’s NOLA Buttermilk Drop bakery in the Seventh Ward to taste the best buttermilk drops ever (yes, they’re better than McKenzie’s!), and king cakes that are in a class all their own, undeniably moist with loads of cinnamon goodness!

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Inner Wheel USA Foundation 1 Mile Walk Saturday, February 23, 9-10am Camp Salmen Nature Park Hwy 190W, Slidell

A fundraiser for the Myoelectric Limb Project The Inner Wheel Foundation was formed in 1988 to provide myoelectric prosthesis to children who are born without an arm or hand, or have lost them through disease or accident. Prosthetic clinics work with the Foundation to also provide for recycling and distribution of myoelectric limbs. The children’s Myoelectric Limb Project provides an avenue for children whose insurance or family circumstances do not allow them to benefit from the latest updated technology. Turning “disabilities into possibilities” is not a dream but a reality of the Inner Wheel U.S.A. Foundation. Inner Wheel members are collecting $10.00 sponsorships for the walk and the public is invited to participate as a walker or a sponsor. Each walker can solicit many sponsors. Students from the local high school Interact Clubs will be on hand to assist. Water and hot beverages will also be provided. Your support and participation is much appreciated!

For more information on the walk, contact: Inner Wheel President, Jane Freeman 985-640-6786 jfreeman@tlxnet.net

To help Inner Wheel “Give a Child a Hand”, visit: www.InnerWheelUSA.com

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Providing Final Care and Comfort to People

H

“Hospice” care began to evolve in Europe about a thousand years ago as pilgrims and travelers looked for places of hospitality to stay during their journeys. Then, the idea grew to include providing comfort to wounded and dying soldiers returning from battle. Eventually, the concept grew to focus on providing comfort, self-respect and tranquility in the final days for patients dying from incurable diseases or injuries. Instead of staying in a sterile hospital or nursing home environment, people could live with dignity in a place of their own, if only for a short time. Today, about two million patients receive some type of hospice care in the United States. “Hospice is a program for patients that have been given a terminal diagnosis,” explained Kathy Busco, executive director for the Slidell-based Hospice Foundation of the South. “Usually, people who enter hospice live about six months or less. Hospice patients are not always home or bedbound when they enter hospice. Patients are encouraged to go out and do whatever they are able to do for as long as they are able. However, at some point, most patients do become bedridden and the care then becomes a 24 hour a day commitment for the caregiver. The hospice interdisciplinary team, consisting of nurses, social workers, certified nursing assistants, chaplains and volunteers, all help the family take care of the patient at home while surrounded by loved ones. By managing pain and comfort, hospice enables the patient to maintain his or her dignity and independence.”

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by John N. Felsher

Doctors have to refer patients to hospice, however the choice of which program they use is up to the patient and the family. Kathy says that, more often than not, patients should be referred to hospice much earlier than most doctors refer. If the “team” sees that a family has needs outside their means, the social worker can call the Hospice Foundation and see if they are able to help. “We help take care of the needs of the patient while the patient receives medical care,” Kathy advised. “We are not a medical facility, but we help with other things, such as helping them with ways to pay bills, buy groceries, obtain sitters and other ways to help the families that have no other means of providing for themselves.” About 30 different hospice programs operate in St. Tammany Parish, but none of them runs a home where terminally ill patients can live out their final days as comfortably as possible. Three such hospice homes exist in New Orleans and one in Hammond, but no similar facilities operate on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. However, that should change soon. The Hospice Foundation of the South plans to build a three-bedroom home in Slidell where patients can live out their last days in peace and dignity. “Sometimes, patients have no families to take care of them or they have situations in which they cannot keep their loved ones at home,” Kathy said. “They need a place for the patient to stay. Currently, there is not a hospice facility of any type in St. Tammany Parish. We’re going to build a hospice home in Slidell where terminally ill

patients can stay if being at home is no longer an option. We are already in the process of the construction of the facility.” When completed, probably in the early fall of 2013, the house will look like any other home in a neighborhood. Each patient will live in his or her own room complete with a private bath. A full kitchen, a screened porch and other facilities will add homey touches to the structure. Families visiting the residents can cook their own food or just relax with their loved ones in the living room, enjoying much more comfortable surroundings than those found in most hospitals or nursing homes. “Sometimes, families want to get together for birthdays or anniversaries and it’s difficult to include the loved one because of the situation,” Busco said. “This home will give those families an opportunity to get together. At the home, we’ll have a caregiver round the clock and a nurse available 24/7 to help them. We’ll have a caregiver looking after patients, but it’s not a medical facility. It’s a home.” When the hospice house opens in Slidell, patients, families and guests should find plenty of reading material. Five members of the Leadership


Northshore Class of 2013 strive to obtain at least 400 books to build a library room at the home. Each year, groups of selected individuals participate in Leadership Northshore’s nine-month series of programs, seminars and interaction with key decision makers designed to inform and motivate them to become better leaders. Class participants lead various projects to improve the community. “Our project focuses on helping the Hospice Foundation of the South obtain books for the house library,” explained Michele Blanchard, a Leadership Northshore team member. “We started a campaign to utilize various media to bring attention to the fact that the house is being built in eastern St. Tammany Parish. With the library, we want to provide a comfort room where people can relax and get a break from what’s going on as their loved ones go through their situations.” The group solicits donations of any hard-backed books that will bring comfort, peace or joy to the hospice patients and their families. People can donate new or used books in good condition. Besides books, people can also make $50 contributions so that team members may buy new books to donate to the hospice library. “We’re looking for the donor’s favorite books, whether a novel, spiritual book or religious book -- that meant something to the person who donated it. We’re not just putting any book up on the shelves. We’re looking for that book that made a real difference in someone’s life or those books that people found really entertaining. The house will have a full kitchen, so some people might want to give their favorite cookbooks. Our goal is to acquire 400 books, but we’ll keep taking donations. When we’re done, it will be a wide array of books we’ve collected.” Besides building the Slidell hospice home, the foundation raises money to help families and patients pay for such medical equipment as hospital beds, wheelchairs, oxygen systems and walkers. Hospice can also pay for medicines related to the terminal diagnosis. In addition, counselors and chaplains can provide help with dealing with emotional issues or take care of other needs. “The Hospice Foundation of the South is dedicated to providing resources for medical and emotional care for terminally ill patients and their families,” Kathy explained. “We support hospices in providing financial assistance for patients in financial need during this difficult time. While they are in hospice, we can pay for hospice care for patients. We can also pay for groceries, rent, medicines, help with

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utilities – anything a family might need to cope with the situation while their loved one is in hospice.” Providing for others and taking care of administrative requirements costs money. The non-profit foundation receives generous support from many volunteers. In addition, many private insurance plans or federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid pay for hospice programs. However, the Hospice Foundation of the South can always use more help. To raise money to operate the home and pay for various other programs, Hospice Foundation of the South organizes a crawfish boil each spring. The 10th Annual Crawfish Cook-Off will be held Saturday, April 20 in Fritchie Park from 11am - 6pm. “We started this as an idea to have some competition, music and fun while raising money for the foundation,” Kathy said. “We started with 20 teams and now have 60 teams boiling about 45,000 pounds of crawfish. The event is open to the public. People can pay one price and enjoy all the crawfish they can eat. We’re hoping to get a lot of people to come out and listen to the bands while eating crawfish.” While walking around the v a r i o u s booths and sampling crawfish and buying refreshments, festival goers might also enjoy listening to popular bands. The bands Redline, The Boogie Men and The Molly Ringwalds will perform. Youngsters might enjoy playing the games and other activities offered in the Kids Zone. Many people enjoy competing in the cooking contest. Each four-person team that pays to enter the crawfish cooking competition must boil at least 10 sacks of crawfish. The majority of those mudbugs will go to festival goers. However, each team will give a sample of boiled crawfish to a panel of celebrity judges. The judges will evaluate the crawfish on several criteria. The team receiving the most votes from the judges will win $600 and the title “Best Crawfish in St. Tammany


Parish.” The second-place team will earn $300 with $200 going to the third-place team. In addition, teams may compete for the popular vote title. The team that raises the most money, by accepting donations, selling products, holding raffles or other fundraising ventures will take the Most Popular title. Another prize will go to the best-decorated booth. Advance tickets to the Crawfish Cook-off cost $25. Tickets at the gate on the day of the event cost $30. Children 12 years old and under may enter for $5, which includes the admission to the Kids Zone. That price entitles ticket holders to eat all the crawfish they can possibly stuff down their throats until the boiling teams run out of the delicious crustaceans. People may also buy such things as hamburgers, hot dogs, beer and other refreshments from participating vendors. Also in the spring, the Hospice Foundation of the South conducts a Children’s Grief Camp. About 30 children aging from 7-12 years old may participate. This year, the camp will be held from May 31-June 2 at Fontainebleau State Park near Mandeville. “It’s a weekend camp where children work through the loss of a loved one through art, music and fun activities,” Kathy said. “We contact the schools, social workers, churches and hospice programs to see if they know of children who might benefit from attending the camp. We’re looking for volunteers to help with the camp. We’re also looking for volunteers to help with food and other supplies.”

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The foundation also holds other events each year to raise money and promote hospice awareness. In May, interested persons may attend the “Angels Among Us” banquet and awards presentation to honor outstanding hospice volunteers. In November, the foundation holds a “Wine and Dine with Hospice” wine-tasting event in conjunction with 10-12 local restaurants that provide samplings of their signature foods. “Volunteers are the heart of hospice,” Kathy said. “They volunteer in a variety of ways including running errands, clerical work and sitting with the patients. Unfortunately, many people either do not know that hospice is available or have misconceptions about hospice. We strive to educate the community about the hospice philosophy and the availability of hospice services.” For more information on the Hospice Foundation of the South or to make a tax-deductible donation, call Kathy at 985-643-5470 or send an e-mail to kathy@hospicefoundationofthesouth.org. Online, see www.hospicefoundationofthesouth.org. To donate a book for the Hospice library, call Michele Blanchard at 985-641-4010 or send an e-mail to booksforhospice@gmail.com. For more information on Leadership Northshore, visit: www.LeadershipNorthshore.com. 31


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Annually, we crown the NFL’s World Champion in the biggest game of the year, the Super Bowl. Football fans gather from around the country to see the two best teams of the year’s season battle it out for the Lombardi Trophy. But this day has evolved beyond football. It’s also about getting together with family, eating good food, watching some of the most overpriced commercials ever, and the halftime show, where talent such as The Who, the Black Eyed Peas, and Madonna have entertained millions during the break. This is what most of the country, and the world, experiences. But what about WHERE it is held? What goes into choosing the host city? How does it affect that city? We’re about to find out. This year the Super Bowl is in New Orleans. As we all know, all of the big cities in America vie for this prestigious honor every year, much like the Olympics. But, have you ever thought about what goes into hosting a Super Bowl? The stress it puts on the businesses and infrastructure of the city that hosts it? Think about this from the point of view of the city. We have thousands of

become a hassle. Reservations become a requirement to go out to eat and hotels will be swamped, not to mention cell phone service will make us curse the day we got rid of our land lines. And the traffic? Don’t even get me started on the traffic.

people flooding in for at least a week, maybe more. This year, with Mardi Gras falling a mere nine days after the big game, it’s going to be even more packed for even longer in our dear melting pot. Meanwhile, New Orleans natives have to continue on with their everyday lives around these visiting patrons. Going out to dinner, stopping by the bank, catching a cab, and other menial tasks

It’s no exaggeration that New Orleans will be tighter than a sardine can, probably for weeks. I have personally checked hotels since December to see if there were openings for the week of the Super Bowl. Any rooms left have been filling fast and the closest decent hotels left were here in Slidell and in Picayune, MS. I am bursting with excitement! Just think of the out-of-towners who have no idea where they are going and love to fill up our favorite eating spots! I am personally looking forward to the idea of slower traffic; high blood pressure is a good thing right? What I haven’t discussed is the amount of law enforcement, fire response, and emergency medical services, not to mention the electricity, water, and sewage considerations. It’s tough work to prepare and host a Super Bowl.

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While I have barely chipped away at the iceberg that is hosting the NFL’s biggest game, there are two big things in the favor of the natives of New Orleans. First of all, the NFL selection committee considers all of these things and more when looking at possible host cities. They don’t even choose a city that can’t offer at least 30,000 hotel rooms. Did you know that? Secondly, since the event is here in New Orleans, we already know all about too many people in a crowded space. We go through it year after year and have gotten really good at accommodating a week long crazy event. Yep, it’s coming up - Mardi Gras. Think about it: we are used to the traffic and road closures, finding an open table at the best places to eat, prepping law enforcement for a big event, and even making sure that there are enough bathrooms and trash cans. New Orleans KNOWS how to have a good time with a lot of people. We are downright famous for it. As this next few weeks has been dubbed, this is “Super Gras” for us. This year, New Orleans has prepared for the biggest Mardi Gras since the last time the Super Bowl was in New Orleans. Imagine all of the king cakes being made to accommodate the influx of people...mmm... don’t mind if I do! The Krewe of Endymion is even bragging that it will have the largest float in city history, and Stephan Wagner, a New Orleans artist, is trying for a Guinness World Record for the largest Mardi Gras bead mosaic. There are even visitors, based on hotel reservations, that plan to stay an extra week for the Mardi Gras season. If you haven’t gotten this already - this is going to be HUGE.

There are many benefits to a Super Bowl in a host city. Some include exposure for tourism, infrastructure renovations that last for decades, and let’s not forget about the money. This 2013 Super Bowl is projected to have about a $420 million dollar impact. That is a whole lot of money coming into the city. I’m no economic analyst, as my wife could tell you, but I would imagine that that sort of income could help with jobs, cost of living, and many other factors. Having said that, there have been many studies on the impact of the Super Bowl on a host city and most of them are either inconclusive or show that it doesn’t make much money for the city. Some even say that is costs the city more money (WHAT?!?). Here’s the logic: as a native, would you go to New Orleans, knowing its going to be a crazy mess? And how can you trust that money spent on hotels like the Hilton and the Marriott or some of the other bigger corporate businesses will keep that money in New Orleans? So you could ask, why do we even want to do this? Why would we want to put ourselves through this mess? If not for the money, then why? I think the answer is pretty obvious; it’s about the party. Our city, and by extension Louisiana, is built on good times and friendly faces. We offer southern hospitality with a dash of jazz. We raise spirits and drink spirits, and we show people a great time, whether they are natives or just visiting. I’m sure the committee that selected New Orleans didn’t just choose us for the uniform requirements we possess as

a host city. They know the kind of people that Louisianians are. And this is a great chance for us all to show the rest of the nation that New Orleans is a safe, fun place to come to, where people treat you like family. So, now that we have gotten over the fact that there won’t be a Saints-New Orleans Super Bowl (it still stings for me, WHY, DREW, WHY!!!), you can at least feel better about what being a host city is all about. Sure, we may have much more aggravation than we are used to, but it will be so worth it to have the nation’s eye on the city in a party-like atmosphere and fun light. You will see people have come from the far reaches to enjoy the good times and watch a great game. Being a host city isn’t just about the cash, which might not even be there, it’s about showing the world what the city has to give. And THAT, my friends, we can do. A toast - Here’s to showing the world that New Orleans is the best decision for a vacation destination! Corey Hogue February 2013 Jockularity@SlidellMag.com

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Audition Express Tickets provide talented hopefuls a VIP experience by Kim Bergeron

In December of 2012, one of the producers of America’s Got Talent called, asking for assistance in sharing the news of upcoming New Orleans auditions. When I advised the producer that the city previously had hosted a Slidell’s Got Talent competition and had sent a video of the Slidell winner to AGT, a discussion ensued. The conversation resulted in an opportunity to present front of line audition passes to some of the top Slidell’s Got Talent entrants, and more passes to be awarded via competitions by local organizations. This story chronicles three of the pass recipients, plus an opportunity for two more, all of whom will audition for an opportunity to win AGT’s $1,000,000 prize.

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he year was 2008, and the place was the Slidell Municipal Auditorium. A teenager stepped in front of a panel of judges, preparing to audition for the “Slidell’s Got Talent” competition sponsored by the City of Slidell’s Department of Cultural Arts & Public Affairs.

What happened next would soon become one of the defining moments of the competition, setting the bar for the many auditions to follow, but also affirming the reason Slidell Art Commissioner Nick Kooney had envisioned the event in the first place. BriAnna belted out a jaw dropping version of “The Black Swan,” an aria from Giancarlo Menotti’s opera, “The Medium.” The performance wowed the judges and drew a standing ovation from those still awaiting their turn to audition. She made it through to the finale, and went on to win the whole competition with a showstopping medley of “Il Mio Bel Foco” and “Stormy Weather,” taking home the first prize of $1,500. BriAnna Dewar’s journey to the stage The road to the Slidell’s Got Talent stage began about eight years earlier for BriAnna. During a talent show at Carolyn Park School, the then-third grader showed star quality

The young lady had a quiet yet commanding presence.From the judges’ table, the rapid fire questions began.

singing the Star Spangled Banner, and she was hooked on performing. By the time she was a freshman in high school, singing was her passion. The Salmen High school student auditioned for, and was accepted into, NOCCA (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.) It was here that she discovered and fell in love with classical voice training. She continued concurrent studies at Salmen High School and NOCCA. In the summer following her junior year, just days after winning Slidell’s Got Talent, she headed to Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. The renowned summer program draws thousands of students from all over the world every year, and proved to be a tremendous experience for BriAnna. It was then that she decided to stay on and finish her high school studies at Interlochen Arts Academy, to continue toward her career goal of singing professionally. Upon graduation, BriAnna went on to Eastman School of Music, a conservatory, completing one year of studies. She is now a music major at Southeastern Louisiana University, with a concentration on Voice. The singer says she has worked really hard to create something unique, bringing together her classical training, her love of jazz and pop, and her passion for performing. She describes being onstage as empowering but also humbling, stating that she knows her talent is a gift from God.

“What’s your name?” “BriAnna Dewar.” “And how old are you?” “Seventeen.” “What are you going perform today?” “I’m going to sing.” “Do you have your music CD?” “I’ll be performing a capella.” “Interesting….okay, well let’s get started… Can we get the microphone set up for her?” “I won’t be using the microphone.”

The tremendous support of her family, especially her mother, has inspired her to make each performance better than her last, she says. Her mother will accompany her when she auditions for America’s Got Talent this month. While she has not yet decided what she will perform, she’s working on several ideas to create something unique. Though this won’t be the first time she has auditioned for a national talent competition, she is determined to take advantage of every such opportunity.

The judges glanced at one another then looked back at the stage, at the young girl whose poise and confidence greatly exceeded her youth.

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“I know that it’s all a matter of perseverance and timing,” she says. “It’s all part of the job. I love singing way too much to give up. This is just the beginning.” Mollie Betsch, Once Upon a Time One of the runners-up in the Slidell’s Got Talent event was 19 year old Mollie Betsch, who impressed the judges and the audience with her rendition of “Once Upon a Time.” Being on stage was nothing new to Mollie, whose mother says she began singing “as soon as she could open her mouth.” Mollie began performing in church choirs at the young age of four, and soon thereafter began performing in community theatre, including Slidell Little Theatre. “My mother has embarrassing videos of me getting bored onstage and doing my own dances to songs until the teachers noticed,” she says. From the theatre, she progressed to the big screen, taking advantage of the opportunities created by the area’s ever-growing film industry. By April of 2012, she had completed working in her eighth film, the last of which included her first speaking role, which she describes as an incredible experience that provided the opportunity to work with Octavia Spencer three days after the actress won an Academy Award for her role in “The Help.” Mollie is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. For two years, she’s been a finalist in the Smithsonian National World War II Museum’s Stage Door Canteen Idol contest. More recently, she had a starring role in the Hattiesburg Saenger’s production of “Legally Blonde, the Musical.” “The role of Elle Woods was one I’ve been wanting for a long time,” she says. “To finally have that opportunity to play her was absolutely incredible! The city of Hattiesburg is so alive for theatre, and that show was just what they needed to bring the younger, sassier audience to the productions.”

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Mollie says she feels blessed that her parents are so supportive of her choice of majors, knowing that other parents might consider it too risky.

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While she hasn’t yet finalized her audition choices, she is confident that she’ll stand out because she says she can’t recall AGT having any contestants who have sung musical theatre. “I’ll most definitely give a thousand percent,” she says. Jennifer Drennan, Never Giving Up She’s been performing for various Slidell events for quite a few years. But, as was the case with BriAnna, Jennifer Drennan’s passion for performance began years earlier, in her school’s talent show. The eighth grader performed “The Rose” by Bette Midler, and received a standing ovation.

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Now, over two decades later, her love of performing is greater than ever. She confesses, however, that she sometimes gets a bit nervous and fears she may forget the words when on stage. While she has performed as a solo artist and with a band, she says her favorite opportunity was opening for Sawyer Brown and LeAnn Rimes, back when the latter of the two first got started. The venue was a country music festival, right outside of Picayune, Mississippi, and she describes the experience of singing in front of an audience of 3,000 as “unforgettable.” With the support of her family, Jennifer has continued to pursue opportunities to perform. Before getting married and for a little while after, she sang in a band. After having children and putting on weight, she felt uncomfortable being on stage in front of people, so she shifted her focus to her family and put singing on the back burner. About four years ago, she was approached by a local Christian band that wanted her to sing background vocals. By that time, she had lost much of the weight and was feeling more confident, so with the support of her family, she “came out of hiding and ventured back into the singing world.” As is the case with BriAnna and Mollie, Jennifer has not yet finalized her selection for what she will be performing for the AGT judges. She is prepared to face some pretty stiff competition at the event, but is hopeful for a ticket to the next phase, armed with the support of family and friends, especially her husband, Doug. “He has always encouraged me not to give up, and even when I did, he kept urging me to go back,” she says. “He tells me I can come up with 100 excuses not to audition, but he can give me 101 reasons why I should, or 101 solutions to those excuses.” Come mid-February, there will be no excuses, only determination, as she is given this treasured opportunity to pursue her dream. Slidell’s Got Talent and Slidell Little Theatre Two more coveted VIP Audition Passes will be given away on Feb. 6 in a Slidell’s Got Talent competition hosted by Slidell Little Theatre. Through a social media promotion that began in January, interested individuals were invited to submit links to audition videos. The top ten will be invited to live auditions before a panel of judges, with one lucky winner to be selected by the event’s panel of judges, and a second winner to be selected as the “People’s Choice” winner. The competition, which will begin at 7 p.m., is free and open to the public. On February 15 and 16, all of the VIP Pass holders will proceed to the America’s Got Talent auditions at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, armed with several edges: the opportunity to proceed to the front of the line, plus an energy level that’s most likely a lot greater than that of contestants number 3,000, 5,000 or more who will patiently await their opportunities to audition. Hopefully these advantages, combined with the tremendous talents of these St. Tammany superstars, will prove the magic combination to bring them to the live competitions, and possibly all the way to the end. A sequel to this story, chronicling the audition experience, will be featured in the March edition of Slidell Magazine. Be sure to check back to follow our talented hopefuls through the next phase of their journeys. Missed the Slidell VIP Pass auditions? Sign up for AGT online!

Want your shot at the $1,000,000 first prize? To pre-register for an audition and for more information about America’s Got Talent, log onto

www.agtauditions.com.

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GO BEYOND by Rose Marie Sand

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I used to have a list I titled “Stuff I want to do.” This was before the coining of the “bucket list” phrase; before it became fashionable to think of one’s life goals before “kicking the bucket.” The first item I crossed off my list was “Learn to swim before I’m 40,” and I was thrilled to jump off a diving board for the first time on that August birthday, twentythree years ago. Since then, I’ve crossed off “Hike the Grand Canyon,” “See the Vatican,” and most recently “Zip line in Alaska.” Yet to come is “River Cruise on the Mississippi,” “Walk (not run!) a Marathon,” and “Meet a President,” preferably in the Oval Office. Not all of the “Stuff I want to do” has included travel, but most have. And not all are physical challenges, although that seems to play a part when I ponder the question - what do I want to do next? I regularly jump genres in these oft spontaneous inspirations – it’s all organic, changing as I change, going beyond my own definitions of me. Some test limits, like dealing with (not overcoming) stage fright, parachuting (decided that was crazy after watching friends do it), or driving a motorcycle (been there done that). Meeting James Taylor morphed into having front row seats and handing him a rose from my very own garden. That was a real Follow Your Bliss moment, as James Campbell said, and I can still remember the dress I wore and the hair style he had.

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See how I’ve perfected down-scaling goals? I went from wanting to be an athlete in an Olympic event, to going to an Olympic game, to volunteering at the Olympics, and I’m getting ready to bring that goal down to a more manageable and exciting - watching a curling match. Don’t kid yourself, curling can be thrilling. See Corey Hogue’s article, Jockularity, in Slidell Magazine, October 2012. What’s the line between something that’s thrilling or something that’s just plain crazy? Does adventure-seeking behavior have an on/off switch? Does it get turned on the more we get to the bottom of our bucket? Is there a chemical imbalance in the brain that makes one truly feel alive only if they are risking their life? Or is there something more basic, more attuned to simply loving new experiences and people? After THE STORM (most of us know the capitalized one I refer to, but insert your own catastrophic life changing event here), a friend pointed out that although I’d lost most personal possessions, I had fifty plus years of life changing experiences. I bemoaned watery pictures of lost loved ones, but the memories those pictures captured aren’t gone. I thought I’d lost a theatrical production company, but the members came back together even stronger. And one of those members helped me realize that there are two kinds of people in the world - those who treasure “stuff” and those who treasure experiences.

My “Stuff I want to do” never included owning things. Oh, I may have coveted a fringed red leather motorcycle jacket back in the day, but once I bought it and saw the fringe covered in hurricane muck, it didn’t seem so special. By the way, the fringe slaps you in the face at top speed - another metaphor I suppose. And although most of the photos of my Grand Canyon hike were ruined, I was able to salvage a turquoise Indian printed scarf I’d worn on the hike. That scarf is now tied on a banister in my condo. In the Canyon photo, it was tied to the Bright Angel Suspension Bridge over the Colorado River. But still, the scarf is just “stuff,” and when another storm threatened my condo’s ruination recently, I knew that even if I lost it all again, the memories I’ve created wouldn’t go down. So I ramble, I travel, I plan or go spontaneously. I look at my fears and decide which ones I’ll conquer, or simply contemplate, this year or this minute. I visualize my personal lines in the sand, and cross them anyway, when it’s time to see what’s on the other side. In 2013, I’ve already begun travel dreams that include Boston, Orange Beach, and a return to the Canyon - all places I have already visited. There are new things to experience there, but also old memories to revisit. Also on the list will be several spontaneous visits to the nearby Mississippi Gulf Coast - a perfect short scenic drive. Have you ever walked the bridge between Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis and then


Let us help you make your dreams come true! had lunch at Trapani’s? There’s some great brass art on the footbridge along the highway, and the Gulf truly pulses under your feet. And the crab cakes on Trapani’s deck are the perfect reward. I’ll tell you about that day trip soon. Big picture dream vacations include a journey to Japan to visit relatives and tours of the Smithsonian Museums - definitely bucket list material. Then there’s also a visit to Cajun country to see the Cajun Mardi Gras celebration and zydeco dancing in Breaux Bridge. Oh, and there’s always Paris...always Paris. A week’s stay in Florence! Or the Florida Keys… I was honored to have two essays chosen to be published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books a few years ago. I’ll share excerpts of those stories with you in weeks to come as well. Both were stories of travels – a motorcycle day trip that changed my life, and one about the anticipation of the moment I reached the Canyon floor. Once you’re at Phantom Ranch, after hiking down the winding trail to the Colorado River, the only thing that will get you back up is your own desire (or a helicopter, but only if you are on death’s door). To see what else is in that ageless canyon and return to your real life, one must keep going, beyond fear and complacency.

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And I invite you to send a letter to the editor about your own travels, and recommendations for new destinations. One buddy’s dream has been to climb the highest mountain in every state; another’s is to visit every state in the US. Big dreams; but what are your smaller ambitions? A song lyric’s siren call – “a land across the sea, ruled by dragons known only to me.”

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If you haven’t already thought in terms of “stuff to do,” let me ask - what would be the first on your list?

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39


Sli-Ku (koo-koo-ka-choo) Am I the only one who thinks February was named by the same person who messed up Wednesday’s name? Was this the doings of a disgruntled calendar maker? Was poor handwriting the culprit? This was always my excuse in the days before spellcheck and computers made writing the words down on paper a task. Or was it just an ancient scholar who couldn’t deal with a deadline and must have inserted a random letter “r” in by mistake? Whichever the real reason, we are stuck with this spelling. And whether you choose to enunciate, articulate, or pronounce this month’s name, it most likely will sound like one of these three versions: Feb-roo-er-ee or Feb-yoo-er-ee or Feb-ooh-er-ee. Listen to enough people say it out loud and you will eventually hear all three versions before the month’s end. But here’s the fun part for all you wordsmith junkies out there - all three are acceptable! Yes, just one more reminder of how lucky most of us are that we didn’t have to learn English as a second language. Take away the odd spelling or the multiple pronunciations, February is still unique in so many other ways. It is the shortest of all the months, yet it is full of many important dates, events, celebrations, and history - with as many as 84 recognized observances squeezed into so few days. The well-known of these observances include Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day, Black History Month, and Groundhog Day. Some of the more obscure include: Rare Disease

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Day, Singles Awareness Day, World Thinking Day, Darwin Day, and Clean Out Your Computer Day. Really? Slidell being steeped in tradition, our town has ties with all the major observances. Even though it’s been increasingly called “President’s Day” since the late 1970’s (when many states made it an official holiday), the official federal holiday is called Washington’s Birthday and it has been observed since 1879. Today, it is a day to celebrate all US presidents and many of our local schools do so through educational assemblies, presentations, and class plays. President’s Day also has become a good day for retailers; for some reason it is the best day to buy a car or a mattress. Black History Month has also become an important part of the local curriculum at many schools. Guest speakers, educational displays, and musical programs create awareness and give a historical look into the meaning of this holiday. Slidell observes Groundhog’s Day…but with “T-Boy the Cajun Groundhog,” a nutria from the Audubon Zoo instead of with Punxsutawney Phil, an actual groundhog. It’s now time to go from a nutria posing as a groundhog to the elephant in the room…Valentine’s Day. It is my theory that Valentine’s Day is like meatloaf. People either love it or hate it. (Don’t think so? Refer back to the obscure observance list above and notice once again Singles Awareness Day!) But whether you get into Valentine’s Day or you go out of your way to let everyone know how stupid and silly you think it is, enjoy the day for what you want it to stand for. Whether I was single or in a relationship, I’ve always liked the 14th of February. I have celebrated by giving flowers and heart-shaped boxes of confections and going on romantic dinners with my gal. I also have celebrated by buying discounted chocolates afterwards, knowing that many “suckers” spent way too much on the same stuff just a week before, and going out for a drink with my other single friends. All of it was fun. Last but not least, there are two more “little” events to mention. The Super Bowl takes place every February. We have the added bonus this year of having it in our own backyard! And, as if this wasn’t enough, 2013 we get to celebrate an early Mardi Gras. Woohoo! Slidell puts on a great Mardi Gras! Parades, parties, music, good food and drinks, and friends and family all add to an already full February of discoveries. As if we need more reasons or examples of how special this city is and how lucky we all are! I think this month’s Sli-Ku sums it up pretty well:

My heart floats all month Through Feb’s parade of events Catching beads of life

Until next time…

Lee Kreil

Confucius say… All male deer have buck teeth


Time off, are you kidding? By: Carol Ruiz – Blue Star Pest Control Can you believe it? We are in the midst of Mardi Gras already and football season is over! Our region will be full of activities over the next 60 days. Many of us take advantage of Mardi Gras week and take some time off and leave on a quick vacation. Native Subterranean Termites don’t take a break for Mardi Gras like we do - they work 24/7. It has been another mild winter, so that means we will probably have a very LARGE termite swarm season again this year. Native Subterranean Termites swarm during the day, usually in late February or early March, when the weather begins to warm up. Since termites do not distinguish between tree roots and the wood structures our homes and businesses are made from, problems arise. Yeah, BIG PROBLEMS, as some of us have discovered. Where Are They? Detecting the presence of termites may be difficult because their activity is usually hidden by many elements like: wallboards, vinyl siding, wall paper or wooden trim.

Evidence of an infestation might include mud tubes, damaged wood, swarmers or simply the presence of their wings. Large numbers of swarmers inside your home is usually a good indication of an active infestation. If swarmers are noticed outside, be on alert, they are in your area. Whether you have found termites or not, feel free to contact a professional termite inspector to have your property checked out. What can I do? Here are my top tips when it comes to termites, in order of priority (although all are important) 4. Walk your entire home and make sure the soil level is at least 3-5 inches below the top of your slab or foundation wall. 3. Clear away any stored wood piles or vegetation that blocks your view of the slab. 2. Repair all leaky pipes, gutters or faucets immediately. 1. When WOOD touches GROUND, termites may be FOUND. Check these areas throughout the year.

Alright, I found live activity. Now what? Always get three estimates on any work to be performed. Make sure that one of the estimates is from a national company, as they are usually more structured in their pricing methodology. Visit us at www.BlueStarBugs.com and look for great information on: “Before you hire a Pest Control Operator”.

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OUT TAKES Mag Slidell ition st 31 Ed

ALL ABOARD ! The EST Ch amber of Com float‛s cast of merce characters ge awesome tim aring up for an e in the Krew e of Slidellia ns parade

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l rector of Cultura Alex Carollo, Di r, ito Ed ag M l Arts, and Slidel at the reception Kendra Maness, tal Artist”, of “The Acciden from this month‛s featuring work idges EFOP, Kenny Br

Tony Walley (ToJo‛s Lawn Care), Chris (Expo Signs), Battaglia and Tim Pills bury (NOLA celebrate ToJ Lending) o‛s victory EYP BUSINES THE YEAR – S OF at the Chambe r Awards!

r Rieck ine‛s Jennife Slidell Magaz scar at Starry, O dances with hts Chamber ig N y rr Sta mony Awards cere

The best writers EVER gather for the first annual Slidell Magazine Writer‛s luncheon! Pictured l-r: Lee Kreil (Sli-Ku), Nancy Richardson (EFOP of the Month), Imke Berger (Imke Photography), Gay & Joe DiGiovanni, Corey Hogue (Jockularity), Mike Rich (Making Cents of Your Money), Alex Carollo, John Case (The Storyteller), and Kim Bergeron



31st Edition - February 2013