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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL The Pelican Project brings a ямВock of smiles to Slidell

magazine Vol 36 July 2013

P e licans on P arade WE KEEP IT FRESH

SAY KEEP IT POSITIVE


No Love Entertainment presents “Gladiator’s Combat Championships 5, THE ROAD TO GLORY.” ALL AGES SHOW!

Tickets are on sale NOW!!!!!!!!! Call toll free 1855-NOLOVE1 (1855-665-6831)

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July 27, 2013 Slidell Auditorium Slidell, LA

at Clementi’s Gladiator Academy of Slidell or go to CAGETIX.COM • Doors open: 7pm Fights start: 8pm We will be bringing the longest running mixed martial arts promotion in Louisiana back to Slidell. This is the first time in over 5 years Slidell has had a heart pounding face crunching mma event !

Main Event

John “Hollywood” Harris vs. Calvin Miller This is long awaited rematch that was stopped early last event. Now after this event there will be no more questions.

Co Main Event

Randy Hauer vs. Scott O’Shaughnessy Texan striker Randy Hauer vs. Hard hitting Scott O’Shaughnessy

175 lb Travis Clements (Gracie United) vs Ryan Cooke (Dixson Dungeon) This event will also showcase a 16 man tournament to see who is the best 155 pounder in the area! The winner gets a brand new street bike from Friendly Honda Yamaha of Slidell. 1) Jason Cribbs (Clementi’s Gladiators Academy) 2) William Carroll (Clementi’s Gladiators Academy) 3) David Lee (Gladiators BR) 4) Rocky Landry (Slidell) 5) Adam Nash (Alan Belcher) 6) Zeke Zenetta (Alan Belcher) 7) James Montano (Gold Dragon) 8) Micheal McDonald (Gracie United) 9) Thanh Le (NOLA BJJ/Mushin) 10) Joe Butters (Lions Pride) 11)Blake Savoian (LA Boxing) 12) Donald Caston (Dixson Dungeon) 13) Paul Earls (Hauer MMA) 14) Chip Butcher (Justin Verdan) 15) Dustin Christy (Monroe) 16) Troy Both ( The Academy)

AFTER PARTY! SHOOTERS social bar in Slidell


magazine Advertise with us! Size

Editor’s Letter By Kendra Maness

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Editor@SlidellMag.com

Happy Birthday to us! Every July, as America celebrates her independence, Slidell Magazine celebrates our birthday. Started in 2010, we are celebrating our 36th edition this month – three years of covering all of the exciting people, places and events in our beautiful city. I know that the average publication celebrates round-number anniversaries, like 50 or 100 editions, or more. (I promise this will be the last time I mention it until one of those anniversary dates!) But, at only three years old, it’s still so fresh and new – kind of like when you dated in high school and you and your sweetheart celebrated each little month anniversary as if it were a really big deal. Well, it really is a big deal to us!

magazine PO Box 4147 • Slidell, LA 70459

www.SlidellMag.com • 985-789-0687

Kendra Maness - Editor/Publisher Editor@SlidellMag.com Alan Lossett - Graphic Design Lee Kreil - Accounts Manager Photography: ImkePhoto.com

Statistics show that 8 out of 10 businesses in the US fail within the first three years. I’m not being pessimistic - it’s a fact. Here at Slidell Magazine, we are proudly leaping that hurdle this month, and never looking back! Thanks to all of our readers and fans, and the amazing talent of our contributing writers, photographers, and artists, we have grown and improved each and every month.

Contributing Writers: Carol Ruiz EFOP, Nancy Richardson Sli-Ku, Lee Kreil The Storyteller, John Case Jockularity, Corey Hogue Pet Points, Jeff Perret, DVM 20/20, John Maracich, III

Exciting new things are happening for us – and that means exciting things are coming for you! You can now purchase Slidell Magazine at all of the Walgreens and Purple Cow locations throughout Slidell and Pearl River. Coming soon, you will also be able to buy Slidell Magazine at both Wal-Mart locations in Slidell. Of course, you will still find us FREE at over 380 locations throughout the city. I’ve been asked many times why we are now selling Slidell Magazine, so let me take this opportunity to clear things up a bit. We release THOUSANDS of free copies to the public through local businesses each month, thanks to our wonderful advertisers, who provide the financial support needed to produce and print each edition. And we will continue doing so! In addition to the free distribution, we now offer the magazine for sale in limited outlets; which has the opportunity to help our advertisers in two ways. First, they will have additional exposure to new viewing audiences, thus potentially bringing them new customers and clients. Secondly, magazine sales will help defer the cost of printing (which seems to increase every time I turn around) and allow us to maintain our same, affordable low prices for advertising. All of this helps the small businesses in our community gain the exposure they need so they too can celebrate their third birthday – and many more!! I really want to thank all of the advertisers who make Slidell Magazine happen. You should thank them too! If you are reading this now, it is because of them! Stop by their shops, give their products and services a try, and then tell your friends to visit. Mostly, be sure to tell them THANK YOU for three years of Slidell Magazine!

Frankly Slidell, Frank Davis Mike Rich John N. Felsher Rose Marie Sand

www.FrankDavis.com

MikeRich@mypontchartrain.com www.JohnnFelsher.com Rose@RoseMarieSand.com

Slidell Magazine now available at all Slidell and


ef o

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

M

“Mark the Slidell cop; Mark the rescue / recovery diver. It’s hard to separate them,” says Slidell patrolman Mark Michaud. Slidell Magazine’s Extraordinarily Fascinating “Ordinary” Person of the month of July, Mark Michaud, has had a huge presence in the media in the past month. This Slidell police officer and diver was able to bring closure to the family of missing New Orleans teacher Terrilynn Monette when he located her car in Bayou St. John in New Orleans. The search for Terrilynn had been an ongoing effort since her disappearance last March; involving law enforcement from multiple cities and parishes, Wildlife and Fisheries agents, and the Coast Guard. Officer Mark Michaud

Mark Michaud July 2013

volunteered and was involved in the search early on. The devoted father of four and “Baw Baw” of two precious granddaughters was compelled to do his best to answer the questions surrounding the much-publicized case and give a grieving family resolution. His compassion for the family continued to push him over the past 3+ months and, with his vast diving experience, he discovered Terrilynn’s car on Saturday, June 8, beneath 8 feet of water. “I just wanted to bring that mother’s baby home,” Mark says. Finding the missing teacher was the culmination of all of Mark’s years of experience in rescue and recovery diving and the art of using sonar. Mark recounts, “Representative Austin

Badon called me in to help New Orleans police as they had limited resources. The New Orleans Police Department was not only understaffed, but as they continued to search every possible lead to find the teacher, they had other new cases piling up as well. When Wildlife and Fisheries came in, they were going from point to point to eliminate where she wasn’t. While that didn’t result in finding Terrilynn, it did provide them with knowledge for future cases. So we began mapping, trying to find where she wasn’t and leaving a record of what we did find. We did that beneficial work quietly.” “On the Saturday her car was found, I just thought we needed to get back to basics – let’s check every route that


she could have taken on her way home. The first car I found with sonar was Terrilynn’s. I continued to identify 5 other vehicles submerged in the area. But none were in the position that I thought they would have to be in, with consideration to all of the possible routes she could have taken home. I went back to that first car because it just made sense. The area had been searched before, but it is so easy for something to get missed. There are so many people checking different areas,” Mark said. Once back at the site of the first car, Mark dove and first saw the Honda symbol, then the license plate, that would identify the car as Terrilynn’s. As word got out that the car had been located, people started lining up on the bank to watch. “More and more people came to line the banks and bridges. Everyone wanted to be a part of finding her, vicariously. We all can sympathize with the pain of that family,” says an emotional Mark. “When I became a police officer it was to help people. In the end, I found you DO help, and change lives, but not in the way you first thought you would. I am emotionally drained. Not because of the find, or recovery, but because a family knows where their child is. To be able to bring closure is an awesome thing, it is such an honor.”

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Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States From 2002-2011 total flood insurance claims averaged more than $2.9 billion per year. As a dive instructor, Mark watches his students carefully Mark has been a resident of Slidell since his family moved here from Maine right after Hurricane Camille. He worked in construction after high school, but when work slowed in the early 90’s, he wanted to challenge himself and do good for the community so he volunteered for the Police Reserve Unit. It was a temporary position which led to a career in law enforcement. “That was 22 years ago and I’ve never looked back,” he says.

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the fire department personnel - to bring our heroes home alive.” He adds that experience counts for so much. “Each experience gets filed away to maybe help with the next case. Sometimes it’s not so much the diving, but applying experience and behaviors,” says Mark.

Mark pauses, “Those are the happiest moments – finding something of sentimental value when you’re not even looking for it. I was able to help bring a little bit of comfort to that family after they had lost so much.”

Mark has been honored multiple times for his work in rescue diving as well as his exceptional police work. For his teaching, leadership, and the continuing work he has done for the safety of our community, Mark has been named National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund Officer of the Month. In June, Mark received a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Slidell for his work on the Terrilynn Monette case. He received a standing ovation from the audience gathered in the Slidell City Council meeting chambers as well as a hearty “Thank you’’ from his boss, Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith, and Cmmdr. John Thomas, leader of the New Orleans Police Department’s 3rd District. During the presentation, Chief Smith told Mark, “You represent us very well,’’ adding that Mark’s work in the search brings honor to the department and the city. The chief also expressed his admiration that Mark continued his quest during his off time and “never gave up.’’

As Mark gained experience in diving, he began applying his knowledge towards his career in law enforcement. He led search and rescue/recovery dives for the Slidell Police Department and began training his fellow officers, along with firemen from Fire District 1. Mark recalls, “Five or six years ago, on a cold winter night, 3 girls drove into a pond, and everyone jumped in trying to save the girls. The Fire Department realized that they needed training in order to handle situations like these - to help in the rescue and recovery while keeping their fire fighters safe.” Mark was asked to develop a system and a training plan. “So I started a Rapid Diver training program. It has a small scuba tank and can be used for emergencies. My goal has always been the same, whether I’m training police officers or

In his spare time, Mark enjoys recreational diving. “I’ve dived in the Bahamas and off the coasts of Florida and Maine. I have dived in just about all of the waterways on the Northshore and most of the south shore - Lake Pontchartrain, the Industrial Canal, every river and bayou, highway ponds, all over. I love it. I’m always seeing something new.” His favorite dives are in caves though. “I do a lot of recreational diving in Marianna, Florida, about an hour from Tallahassee. There are about 6 or 7 cave systems there.” Mark says, “It’s important in cave diving to know how to dive without stirring up the silt so you can see stuff like it was 1000 years ago -- fossils, skeletons, etc. One underwater cave in Florida called ‘The Bone Cave’ has an intact prehistoric manatee called a dugong.”

Mark with members of Fire District 1, after a dive training exercise While working as a reserve officer for the City of Slidell under then Chief Ben Morris, Mark recalls, “There was a guy and his son who were divers and I’d always thought it (diving) was too expensive, but they encouraged me to seek training to get certified to dive.” In late 1994 that finally happened. “Within a few years, I was being hired to dive for people. I was asked to find things that were important to someone but had little monetary value: boats, a shotgun passed down from grandpa, things like that. I’ve also found tennis bracelets, a diamond ring, cars, and stuff from the 19th century that I found up on the Pearl River. It’s nice to be able to get things of value back to their owners.” Mark tells the story of being hired by a family of fisherman who lived on Highway 11 and had lost their home in Katrina. “I was hired to recover the crab traps they used to make their living. I knew it was important because this is how they made their livelihood. So, while I’m under, finding and recovering the traps, I see these dinner plates - still intact. I brought them up to the surface and told the family... ‘Well, they’re a little dirty but I think you can still use these. Are these yours?’ I had no idea the reaction I was going to get. The wife just started crying and thanking me. 8

Her father had brought those plates home from WWII when he was serving in the South Pacific. She thought they were lost forever along with everything else in her house.”


Mark has no qualms with claustrophobia but laughs when he adds that he won’t ride a motorcycle because it’s too dangerous. “I like my caves. There are unique formations in caves that you just can’t find anywhere else. It is a whole new world hidden beneath the surface.” Some of Mark’s cave dives can extend for as much as 24 hours. “We have teams that set up ropes and stage bottles of air along the way. We run lines with markers to show you the way back out and to keep the divers oriented.” Mark is always on the hunt for another diving opportunity. “I want to dive in some Mexican caves, to see the pottery and fossils. I do it purely for recreation because it’s so peaceful and beautiful.”

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Between the cave diving sharpening his skills and the knowledge of the waterways in the area, Mark continues to gain more experience for his rescue and recovery missions here in Slidell. Along with his compassion for people and his devotion to service, Mark Michaud is truly an extraordinary person and a blessing for our community. Mark sums up, “We have only one chance to be human. So it’s important to do well and leave something behind.”

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Mark, “Baw Baw,” with his granddaughters

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SUN

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30

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Communications Committee Olde Towne Soda Shop 11:30am

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YATS Performances “Magic in Me” - 1pm “Don’t Stop Believing” - 7pm Slidell Little Theatre

Ribbon Cutting Open House Valerie Cannon – Avon Chamber Boardroom 12-2pm Storytimes & Activities Ages 3-11 Slidell Library

Storytime 3mo-3 yr old: 9:30am 3-5 yr old: 10:30am Slidell Library

Grand Opening PitStop Carwash 3–5pm

Storytime 3mo-3 yr old: 9:30am 3-5 yr old: 10:30am Slidell Library

SLIDELL LADIES FOR LIBERTY PACKING DAY AT THRIVENT FINANCIAL

Slidell Gun & Knife Show Harbor Center Education Committee Chamber Boardroom 8:30am

YATS Performances “High School Musical Jr”-1pm “Bye Bye Birdie” - 7pm Slidell Little Theatre

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Business After Hours Fidelity Homestead Savings 5–7pm

Grand Opening Lean Training Studio 3–5pm

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Your Money Questions Open Forum Discussion Pontchartrain Inv. Mgmt 6pm

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AUGUST

“The Smell of the Kill” Cutting Edge Theater 8pm 13

Public Policy Committee Chamber Boardroom . 8am “The Smell of the Kill” Cutting Edge Theater 8pm

Camellia City Farmers Market - Olde Towne “The Smell of the Kill” Cutting Edge Theater 8pm

Slidell Gun & Knife Show - Harbor Center 19

YATS Performance “Bye Bye Birdie” Slidell Little Theatre 7pm

Camellia City Farmers Market - Olde Towne YATS Performance “High School Musical Jr” Slidell Little Theatre - 7pm

20

“The Smell of the Kill” Cutting Edge Theater 8pm

“The Smell of the Kill” Cutting Edge Theater 8pm 27

26

25

Coastal Cruisers Northshore Square Mall 6-9pm

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Chris Duhon Stand Tall Foundation Scholars Dinner Harbor Center 7-11pm

Small Biz Committee Chamber Boardroom 8:30am

31

SAT 6

“The Smell of the Kill” Cutting Edge Theater 8pm

YATS Performance “High School Musical, Jr” Slidell Little Theatre 7pm

Grand Opening All Dolled Up Hair Salon 3–5pm 30

Grand Opening Hooters 11am Business After Hours Rotolo’s Pizzaria 5-7pm

Free Business Counseling Chamber Boardroom Call for Appointment

Ambassador Meeting Location TBD Noon

FRI 5

Slidell Heritage Fest Heritage Park 3 - 11pm 11

10

17

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15

THU 4

Storytimes & Activities Ages 3-11 Slidell Library 9

8

7

Grand Opening All Stitched Up by Angela 3–5pm

WED 3

Camellia City Farmers Market - Olde Towne

Gladiator Combat Championship 5 Slidell Auditorium 8pm 3

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Camellia City Farmers Market - Olde Towne “13, The Musical” Cutting Edge Theater 8pm

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The Interlopers

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attack. One of the items suggested to be taken to the shelter was a gun. The gun was to be used to kill your neighbors if they tried to crash your shelter.

Did I tell you I did not grow up a rich kid? Oh, we had clothes, food and a warm bed; but other necessities such as a telephone, television, and at times a family automobile were not always in our life. I say we had plenty to eat and that is a true statement, but occasionally, the meat would not hold out until payday came.

Dad did not see any reason to kill the neighbors; he would just build a shelter big enough to accommodate all of them. That meant more digging, A LOT more digging for me. Just about the time I got a couple of feet deep, a heavy rain would come and destroy at least fifty percent of my work. I did not understand why we could not just get under our desk, like we did during tornado drills when I was in the first grade.

Those were the times when my mother was most crafty. She would tell us how much fun it was going to be to have cornbread and milk or tomato gravy and biscuits for dinner. The truth is, I loved those supper menus, and still do, but Mom would try to hide the real facts from us. She could make it sound as exciting as she wanted to, but when we looked in the fridge and nothing was there, we could see through her charade. About 1960, Daddy got the idea that the Russians may drop an atomic bomb on us. Imagine them wasting a bomb in rural Mississippi, where the only industry for miles around was a thermometer plant. Anyway, he was convinced the Russians were coming and commenced to digging a bomb shelter. Let me clarify - I was going to dig the bomb shelter.

four feet wide, six feet deep and six feet long. That was about the size of a grave, and that was manageable. But the plan soon changed.

During that particular summer, I had to dig for one hour every morning and evening. At first the shelter was going to be about

My daddy had read that one of the biggest problems with owning a shelter was keeping the neighbors out in case of an

Dad explained that these bombs were different. They were filled with little green germs that glowed in the dark called radiation. I asked him what was to prevent the little green germs from coming down the air vent pipe? He showed me a drawing that he had acquired. I think he found it in Popular Science Magazine. The vent pipe was to be filled with steel wool and a car battery would be attached at the top and the bottom. This would electrify the steel wool and electronically filter out the deadly germs. While I sweated and dug, he worked on the filter design. It was fun to watch him do it; because every time he hooked up the battery, the steel wool would glow like a

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slow burning fire sparkler and soon disintegrate. He tried over and over. Eventually, he hit on the idea that a Brillo Pad might work and that somehow, the soap coating would prevent it from burning. It did work. It was going to be a long year in the trenches for me.

The Smell of the Kill

I said that we had enough food, and we did most of the time. But when unexpected company came, we would sometimes run short. We had a lot of company back then - but none like the Murdock couple who came to visit. It was a Sunday morning in late August when a strange car pulled into the little church that I attended. It was probably about a 1951 Pontiac but it was in almost showroom-new condition. Not only was the condition immaculate but it also had all the accessories. It had a sun visor that extended from the roof forward, and a spot light mounted on the driver’s door, much like a law enforcement officer would have. On the front fenders, there were receptacles to hold flags and other pennants. I had seen this in the newsreels. Generals had flags on their cars. Ike had one, so did Patton, MacArthur and even Hitler. That was before my time but I had seen them in the movies. Some of the kids at church commented that the car must have belonged to a general. That car would remain in my memory and I can still picture it vividly as I write this today.

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Before the church service started, Dad and the other adults welcomed them and found out that they were Christian Missionaries working in Japan. They had returned home to raise money to continue their mission. I have since determined that she was 58 years old at the time and he was younger at 55. They both looked much older than that. She was a small, petite woman that had grey hair worn in a tight bun. She looked much like Grandma Ester from the Waltons. He was short and stocky, bald-headed, and wore a black hat with a large, flat brim. He also wore a string tie with a turquoise clasp. She was very quiet and withdrawn but he was boisterous and outgoing. When church dismissed, Dad invited them to the house for lunch. Years later, I would reflect on the question; was that a blessing or a mistake? After lunch, they mentioned that our house would be a great central location for them to conduct their fund raising activities and would we mind if they stayed a few days? My dad and mom were the ultimate hosts, and after all, this was advancing the work of the Lord. They readily agreed. The couple moved in upstairs, on the opposite end of the hall from my room. On most mornings, they would leave about ten thirty but were always back home for an afternoon snack. They seemed to have a knack for knowing just when Mom was putting the evening meal on the table. They never mentioned where they went during those times away from our house. They were very secretive people and always whispered to each other out of our hearing distance. Most of the time they stayed in their room and there was almost no social interaction. They did not volunteer to do any household chores and even left their laundry for Mother to wash. We did learn from them, however, that they were originally from Leesville, Louisiana but had sold their home to support their missionary work. In a few days, Mr. Murdock - he preferred to be called Dr. Murdock, as he said he was a licensed Osteopath - called my

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dad aside. He told Dad that his wife was having trouble in climbing the stairs and would he and my mother mind giving them their room. Dad readily agreed and said he would do anything to help teach those heathens in Japan about Jesus. (In the country, the wounds of World War II had not yet healed.) He then asked if Dad had a key to the room, as he would like to keep it locked. We did not even have a lock on our front door, let alone a bedroom door, so Dr. Murdock bought one at his own expense and Dad installed it. I heard Dad tell my mother that he could not understand why Dr. Murdock would not give him the extra key, since it was his own room in his own house.

Khrushchev idea better as I did not think they would bomb us with a Russian Spy in the house. One day, I decided to ask Dr. Murdock what he thought of our building a bomb shelter. I was surprised and frightened by his answer, but deep down I liked it.

In a couple more days he told Dad that his wife had a stomach problem and could not eat an early breakfast. He wanted to know if Mother would mind preparing her one at precisely 10 a.m. Again, Dad agreed and did so without consulting my mother. I think this is where the honeymoon began to end between at least my mother and the Murdocks.

That night at dinner, Dr. Murdock brought up the subject of the shelter. He told Dad that it would not work. He told him that the most constructive thing for him to do was to spend as much time and energy trying to convert those communists to Christianity as he did preparing for an attack. He told him that it would be more beneficial if I prayed for an hour a day rather than dug. I was a little taken back with that, as I did not know whether I would rather pray or dig, but I figured I could pretend to be praying while my mind was somewhere else. The last digging I did was to fill in the hole in the yard. The bomb shelter was never mentioned again.

Dr. Murdock borrowed a ladder from my dad and ran a wire between two pine trees. To this wire he attached another and ran that wire into my parent’s bedroom which he and Mrs. Murdock were now occupying. The next day, he arrived with a big black box and asked me to help him move it to his room. He said it was medical supplies. My brother and I had read too many spy comic books for this to go unnoticed. We were sure that we had a real live communist spy living in our house, especially when we found out that the box contained radio equipment and we did not see any medical supplies. Behind their back, my brother and I would make Twilight Zone sounds, do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do. It was obvious to us that he was the front man for the Russian invasion and soon flags would be placed on the fenders of that old Pontiac as Khrushchev drove around surveying his seizure of the Mississippi countryside. Even though we had no proof, we tried to convince Dad that he was a follower of Tojo or a spy for Khrushchev. I liked the 14

He told me that, with all due respect to my dad, it would not give adequate protection against a nuclear war. He said he had a great deal of knowledge on the subject. That was frightening. Then he told me he had watched how hard I had been working on the project and that he would talk to Dad to see if he could get him to abandon the idea. That I liked.

Time passed and Thanksgiving arrived. The Murdocks informed us that they were meeting relatives from Leesville at a central location, Hammond, Louisiana, and would be spending the day with them. It did not occur to us that Hammond was not a central location. We were just glad to have our privacy back, if only for a few hours. We had a great Thanksgiving dinner with all the traditional trimmings, but due to the extra couple we had been feeding, Mother measured carefully and there were no leftovers. About three o’clock that afternoon, the Murdocks drove up with an additional car load of relatives. Dr. Murdock told Mother that he had raved so much about her good food that his relatives had just decided to come eat with us rather than in some old café in Hammond. Mother had to cook another


complete Thanksgiving dinner with the last two chickens we had in the yard. I knew there would be lots of cornbread and sweet milk, as well as tomato gravy and biscuits in the days to come. I also knew that on that day, my dad’s attitude toward the Murdocks changed.

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The next evening after dinner, Dad took Dr. Murdock outside and they talked for a few minutes. The next morning before daylight, they were gone without saying a word. In 1969, some nine years later, I was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana near Leesville for Army basic training. I had a weekend pass and hitchhiked a ride into town. There was not a lot to do in Leesville so I was just walking the street when, to my surprise, an old familiar Pontiac passed. Yes, they were driving it. Older now, but it was them, no question. The car pulled into a service station just ahead of me and I walked up to introduce myself. They had no idea who I was and, at first, seemed to hardly remember the three months they spent with us.

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Finally Dr. Murdock said, “Oh, the bomb shelter.” We laughed and he invited me to go home with them for dinner. I agreed. I climbed into the old car, now 18 years old, that was in the same condition it was in 1960. We arrived at a home and were greeted with surprise by the lady of the house. I should have known it was not the Murdock’s house. I could imagine what this lady was thinking as I reflected back on that Thanksgiving Day several years prior.

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The owner of the home worked on the base and had a pass to drive me all the way to my unit rather than just to the front gate. It was decided that after dinner, he and his wife would drive me back. On the way to the base, the wife immediately began to ask me how I knew the Murdocks. I told her about their stay with us. She did not say anything else until it was time for me to get out of the car.

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Arriving at my unit, she turned to me and said, “John, can I ask you something?”

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“Yes Ma’am?” “How long did they stay?” “About three months Ma’am. As best I recall, about three months.” Grabbing her chest, she swallowed hard and said, “Oh my God.” Post note: I was able to find out that both the Murdocks d i e d i n t h e l a t e 1 9 9 0 ’s . T h e r e i s e v i d e n c e that they were indeed missionaries to Japan. But I am still not totally convinced that was not a cover.

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Making ₵ents

of your money

Do you want to be a Financially Successful Person? Read on to find out how. If you pay any attention at all to the financial media, there’s a lot of doom and gloom out there. From the threat of rising interest rates, to ballooning taxes, to the ravages of inflation on retirement accounts, it seems that many writers are fixated on making us feel miserable when we think about our money. It wouldn’t surprise us here at Pontchartrain Investment Management to see articles with titles like “How to find the best price on Ramen noodles, ‘cause

that’s what you’ll be eating every day in retirement” or “Five nursing homes that will take you in when your kids don’t want you anymore.” Geez.

of the financial shocks that rock other people, will not be at the mercy of long term care bills, and will have an emergency fund for a rainy day. How do we know this?

Despite all the bad press, however, we see good times coming in the financial lives of a lot of our clients. They’ll have money to pay for their children’s college, a nice retirement account, and the freedom to enjoy their senior years. They will be prepared for many

Because it’s happening today for our clients who have a financial plan - and stick to it. We call them Financially Successful Persons, or FSPs.

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18

by Mike Rich

Are they gazillionaires? Hardly. Shopping mall heiresses? We don’t know any. Lottery winners? Nope. Most FSPs are simply everyday, normal, hard-working folks who decided early on that they didn’t want to chase investment fads, live beyond their means, and swear by their brother-in-law’s stock market advice. Their secret is that they made different choices in life and made those choices part of their financial plan. Now, here at Pontchartrain Investment Management, Andy, Chris, Steve, Robin, and I can’t guarantee that you will succeed at achieving financial independence. But, we can tell you that the folks who have reached their financial goals generally have habits and behaviors in common that are good for achieving financial security. Here’s what we see FSPs doing: 1.) FSPs set goals. And their goals aren’t limp-wristed, “I hope” drivel. FSPs have sat down with us and said something like, “We want to retire completely from work at age 68 with an annual income of $83,000 that keeps up with inflation. If one of us dies too soon, we want a $500,000 death benefit to replace what we’ve spent. And, we want to spend down our money over 25 years so we leave no more than $5 to our children. Period.” If you want to set goals like that – in other words, if you want a specific target that we can actually make a plan for – call us, and we’ll sit with you to get some things down on paper.


2.) FSPs understand that a nest egg does not grow by magic. FSPs know that time is their friend and that getting rich quick is a fairy tale. They know that saving means paying themselves first. They understand the power of compounding. They know that nothing is guaranteed, but that small amounts of money can eventually grow to big sums. They know that $5,000 a year, invested over 30 years in a tax-deferred account at 8% per year, will grow to $611,729.34. They also know that if they increase that $5,000 by only 5% a year, year in and year out, the total will be $1,033,328.61.1 3.) FSPs protect their assets by letting insurance companies take on the risk. A single, unplanned, nasty event, like a disability that stops your income, a premature death that deprives your family of its breadwinner, a car accident that ends up in a losing lawsuit, or a long term care need that goes on for years can cause irreparable damage to the best of financial plans. FSPs know that “stuff happens” and that the benefits and confidence that come from planning far outweigh the costs of insurance. 4.) FSPs work with trusted advisors. Hands down, our most successful clients have said to us, “You know my goals. Tell me what I have to do to get there. I don’t want to think about it. You know what you’re doing. I trust you to do the right things with my money.” Our FSPs use us as the Chief Financial Officers of their families, knowing that, if it has a dollar sign in front of it, we probably know something about it, or can find an expert who does. Our core belief here at Pontchartrain Investment Management is that anyone can be an FSP. The relative scale in terms of money might be different, but the confidence factor is not. There is no magic wand, it takes commitment and discipline on your part, and we cannot make any promises to you. However, we’ve seen a lot of our clients succeed by doing the things that FSPs do. If this sounds intriguing, if you want to explore the possibilities for yourself, and if you want a trusted advisor to take financial affairs off your plate, call us for a complimentary meeting…and join the FSP club.

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2242 Carey St. Olde Towne, Slidell, LA These are hypothetical examples and are not representative of any specific situation. Your results will vary. The hypothetical rate of return used does not reflect the deduction of fees and charges inherent to investing. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.

1

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.

For more information call Rebecca Blossman at 985-705-4440 or email rebecca@lake947.com 19


I

A Plethora of Perched Pelicans Populate Slidell!

“Rex” by Cathy Wood

by Lee Kreil

If you put them all together, you would have the most unique “pod” of pelicans on the planet. A very special pilgrimage has been taking place and Slidell is the preferred landing zone. These prodigious, pleasingly peculiar varieties of Pelecanidae are popping up all over town. The State Bird of Louisiana is the Brown Pelican and, here in Slidell, with the proliferation of the “Paradus Pelicanus,” these avian residents are quickly gaining a huge new following. And that is just peachy! But exactly how did we end up with this population of most colorfully painted pelicans? And why? One day you are

“Treasures of the Gulf” by Cindy Strecker 20

driving past the SMH Cancer Center on Robert Blvd on your way to work like every other day; nothing new. But on the drive home, there is a Camellia-clad Pelican with a butterfly alit on its beak, greeting you as you pass. Or you are driving by the Slidell Police Station and you see Chief Randy Smith out front, so you roll down the window to wave and say hello…only to discover a “Pelican Randy” imposter instead. Pelicans on Parade officially began as a 2013 Leadership Northshore class project featuring public art to raise money for Children’s Wish Endowment. The Leadership team members for this

“Dr. Pelican” By Kenny Bridges

project consist of Jennifer Berger (SMH), Danielle Evans (Office of Congressman Steve Scalise), Laura Mauffray Borchert (Attorney), and Mike Thiel (Fire District 1). Their proposed project and purpose - to raise awareness for public art and artists while showcasing the Slidell Main Street Corridor businesses and raising money for Children’s Wish Endowment. How were pelicans chosen over all the other Louisiana icons, animals, or figures that could have been used? In the past, these birds were persecuted to near extinction. Then, just as the Brown Pelican population was establishing itself

“Pelicopia” by Mary Christopher


again, hurricanes and man-made disasters pressed pod populations almost past the breaking point. The pelicans are making a comeback, though; in the wild and now in the streets of our city! Laura goes on to explain, “Growing up in Slidell, we were taught that our state bird was the pelican, but I never saw one until I was grown and out of college. It is truly a treasure to see pelicans flying overhead and playing around our lakes and bayous. Now, we’ll get to see them perched and painted along the streets as well!”

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Painted Pelicans wait in the “Bird Cage” for their final placement on concrete foundations throughout Slidell As with most things worth doing, the project wasn’t without obstacles in the beginning. Laura recalls the early challenges, “If we’d listened to all the negativity at the start, this project could never have taken flight. Many times we heard “can’t” - but these are peliCANs, not peliCAN’Ts.” It was hard for people to perceive the vision and imagine what the finished product would look like. Businesses and individuals were approached to buy or sponsor a four foot tall pelican. Then, the buyer or sponsor received artists’ renderings to choose the design they most liked. Once painted, the pelican would be placed in front of the business or around the city at various locations for public display, with the proceeds donated to charity. The least challenging thing about the project was the benefactor, Children’s Wish Endowment. The proceeds from the sales or sponsorship of the pelicans will help make dreams come true for critically and terminally ill children. Thanks to some early benefactors that helped pump life into the project, the funding enabled the first flock of pelicans to be ordered and painted. LowryDunham Case & Vivien, Pontchartrain Investments, and Billie & Gran Semmes were all vital early on, and thus to the overall success of this Leadership project. Where exactly do you buy a 4 foot pelican? Well, from a company located in the heartland; more precisely in Nebraska. Icon Poly is a custom 3-D fabricator specializing in the use of high quality resins and rubbers to bring ideas to reality. Starting with as little as a crude sketch, the staff has the creativity and talent to produce a full 3-dimensional model which can then be duplicated using a proprietary short production run process. The original pelican was designed

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by Rachel Noto, an LSU art student from Slidell. To make the reproductions, Icon Poly made a mold based on Rachel’s original design; each pelican is then made from the mold and shipped down to Slidell.

“Who Dat” by Lori Gomez

“Shotgun Community” by Matt Litchliter

“Patriotic Pelican” by Mickey Asche

22

“Justice of the Pelican” by Reed Parker

With the momentum building, more and more local artists were pursued to help paint the growing number of orders that were being placed. The project team now had to focus on logistics as well as sales. Like any good team, they put in place a process for success. As each truckload of pelicans arrives in Slidell, artists pick up their pelicans and begin painting. Nearly all are painted with acrylic; but some are being painted or embellished with enamel, automotive paint, or other creative materials. Once painted, artists bring the pelicans to Paint & Body Experts who then graciously clear coat the pelicans with the same sealant used in the shop on cars. A painted pelican needs a place to perch and Landry’s Mobile Concrete makes the concrete pads just for this purpose. About every week a new trailer full of concrete pads gets placed where needed so the newest squadron of pelicans can be anchored down to the concrete. As the number of pelicans and artists grow, so too does the creativity. The prevalence of artists and ideas for painting the pelicans is only limited by the participant’s imagination. There are pelicans that reflect our culture such as Adam Sambola’s “RedBean’s Piano Pelican” at the Harbor Center, Paige Hymel’s “Blue Dog Pelican” at Dr. Brandner’s office, and Lori Gomez’s “Who Dat?” Saints football-themed pelican in front of The Who Dat Shoppe. Peggy Cromer’s “Save the TaTas” in front of Sylvia’s Jewelry on East Gause helps raise awareness for breast cancer research. Cheryl Simon’s “Pink Paisley Pelican” is sitting pretty at Southside Café.

“Wild Royalty” aka “Belican Pelican” by Elsie Semmes

And Kenny Bridges has painted several themed pelicans; including the “Pelican Randy” (as pictured on this month’s cover), an amazing horse-pelican now perched in front of The Wine Market, and even a doctor-pelican for Pelican Urgent Care. “Rex” by Cathy Wood Newman is watching the Parade of Pelicans from his perch at Professional Image, and is dedicated in memory of the business’ founder, Ed Emerson (Mr. Emerson also played a large role in starting Slidell Magazine). If you can’t get out and about Slidell to discover these Pelicans first hand, “LIKE” Leadership Northshore Pelicans on Parade on Facebook where you will see many photos of posted pelican pictures. You will also see comments about the various pelicans as people discover them and learn more about the businesses and artists responsible for some of them. This project is not only helping to support local established artists, it is also helping to get other artists discovered, with the pelican project being their public showing debut. All of this is part of the mission the Leadership Northshore class defined. Also in the mission was the goal of showcasing Slidell businesses. A plan for creating a “Pelican Map” is in the works and this should help increase Slidell tourism. The pelican tour is like a scavenger hunt; people from all over can be seen taking pictures with the pelicans at

“Horse Pelican” by Kenny Bridges


the various locations. In the process, they are discovering the businesses that are hosting the pelicans, which could lead to increased sales for the sponsoring business. Pictures of Pelicans on Parade are appearing all over Facebook and give the local businesses additional exposure. It’s a winning proposition for everyone! “I just love sitting on the porch watching people tour the pelicans along Robert Street in Olde Towne,” Laura says. “In just a 2-block walk you can see seven pelicans!” (There are THREE at 3 Diva’s & A Sugar Daddy right around the corner on Front Street!) Public art projects are a good way to promote local and regional artists, raise lots of money for good charities and bring travel and tourism dollars to a community. Pelicans on Parade satisfies all three of these goals and completed the mission created by the Leadership Northshore project team. Leadership Northshore is responsible for many wonderful projects. Heritage Park playground is one of the best known and most successful projects. Pelicans on Parade has the potential of becoming another iconic Leadership project; one that will have an effect on Slidell for years to come. “This project will continue to evolve and grow,” Laura assures us.

The four foot Pelican cast as it appears when delivered, before local artists bring them to life The next flock of Pelicans on Parade is growing fast and looking for more local artists. Children’s Wish Endowment is looking for pelican painters to join in on the fun! If you want to paint a pelican to support Children’s Wish Endowment, please get your colored pens or paints out to provide a few sketches of your design ideas as soon as possible. For more information about CWE, visit their Facebook page or call 985-645-WISH. You can also get more information through the Leadership group responsible for Pelicans on Parade by contacting Laura Mauffray Borchert at 985-640-0101 or emailing her at LAMBorchert@aol.com.

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A Personal Hurricane Catastrophe Plan by John Case, Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance

It’s officially here, and it is not something you look forward to, like Christmas. It is hurricane season. The danger with hurricane seasons are that they seldom bring damaging winds to our specific area and, for this reason, we tend to forget what they are capable of doing. Betsy, Camille, and Katrina are just a few of the bad ladies that have visited us, and sooner or later their sister or brother will visit us, much as Isaac did last year. These hurricanes can and will damage property, cause bodily injury and certainly put you in a lot of discomfort. Planning is the key to successful and easy hurricane preparedness. Preparedness should include actions to prevent damage to property, but of more importance, to prevent bodily injury or even death.

Even if you do not expect a hurricane, you should thoroughly photograph your home and its contents. Open drawers where valuables are stored and photograph. Open closets, cabinets, etc. Send a copy of these photos away from your premises. This is good documentation for your insurance claim in the event of any type disaster. Let me start with the most drastic measure evacuation. Believe it or not, it should not be your choice of last resort; it should be your FIRST choice. If you evacuate, you can almost be assured that you will have no storm related bodily injury. The key is to have a plan.

GET YOUR CAR SERVICED. Check belts, cooling system, tires, and don’t forget to check the spare tire and all equipment related to the jack. A can of Fix-a-Flat can be a life saver if a flat tire occurs at night or during a rain storm. For the next few months, keep your car full of gasoline. If you have more than one car, you should plan to do the same with it. If you decide to leave it behind, make plans for a place to leave it out of the threat of high water. PLAN YOUR ROUTE: Forget trying to decide if you should go east or west. Hurricanes are unpredictable. They may come straight at you, veer to Florida or to Texas. You cannot predict this. GO NORTH. Once you get, lets say, 100 miles inland, you can then go east or west, but first go north.


IMPORTANT: As soon as you get out of the metropolitan area, use the back roads. I evacuate from Slidell through Pearl River, Sun, Franklinton, Tylertown and I can follow this route all the way to I-20. I have always experienced no more than normal traffic. I mention I-20 because that is an east and west interstate and, at this point, you can exercise that option. A weekend outing to test these routes may make for a nice road trip prior to the need for actual evacuation. Take note of gasoline stations, restaurants, motels, etc. Another nice thing about the back roads is that you will see little Mom and Pop motels in small towns that the interstates have bypassed. These can be inexpensive and comfortable, and you may find safety in just a couple of hours drive from home. You should keep in mind that power outages can range as far as 150 miles inland and this could cause you some discomfort due to the heat. PACK IN YOUR CAR… You could (if you don’t leave early) be on the road for over 24 hours. The traffic could be bumper to bumper. Again, leaving early is the best option. You will avoid a lot of headaches. Just in case the traffic does not go well you should have: bottled water, an ice chest with ice, some light snacks such as fruit etc., maps, GPS, and if possible, a SAFE container of gasoline in the trunk, tightly secured. Don’t forget your medications. You should keep a two-week supply of medication on hand during the entire storm season. You should keep in your valuable papers that you take with you the exact medicine and dosage that has been prescribed. It could be a month before you see your own family physician again.

Firearms: I will remain silent on whether or not to take firearms with you on your evacuation. Remember, you may be traveling to states that have different laws. I am concerned however, with those firearms you leave behind. While you are away, your home could be burglarized. Firearms are an attractive item for the criminal element, and also children. Hiding your firearms under the insulation in your attic is an option. I know what I said about the roof blowing off, but it is better than leaving them in the closet. A handgun can be placed in a coat pocket that is hung in the closet.

It is a good idea to cut off electricity if you stay during the height of the storm. Electrical surges can cause damage. Hoping to save your refrigerator may convince you to leave it on if you evacuate, however.

Pets: Make sure you have your pet’s vaccinations up to date and be sure to pack your pet’s health card. Remember to take their medication, leash, food, water and bowl for serving. To insure your pet’s safety, evacuating with your pet is best. Boarding kennels and veterinarians will book up quickly, and have the possibility of flooding and damage much as our homes do. Purchase a dog or cat carrier in advance for pet transportation – they will be in very short supply if there is a hurricane. If you cannot evacuate with your pet, call your vet or a boarding kennel NOW and get on their emergency evacuation reservations list to insure a place.

On your route home, stop by an ATM or a bank that is part of your bank’s network and get as much cash as you can. Banks may be closed when you get home for a week or two.

A resource for additional information is St. Tammany Parish Animal Control: 985-809-0183 BEFORE YOU GO: Early on, it is a good idea to have the trees that are in reach of your home examined by a professional. Water oaks do not withstand wind well. Not only that, but if they got salt water in Katrina, it is a good bet the interior is rotting. You may consider removing these trees. Pines that can reach your house should also be removed, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, toilets are not positioned along the evacuation route. You should order a product called Travel John that can be found on the internet. It is convenient for both men and women and turns urine into a gel that will not spill. The bag seals tightly for easy disposal. If you are in bumper to bumper traffic, this may be the most important thing you pack.

Boarding up is certainly a good thing to do, but there is no evidence that taping windows does any good. The use of sandbags, unless you are going to stay and maintain them, have limited value.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TAKE: Your insurance papers, both property and health. A list of all relatives’ cell phone numbers and their evacuation plan, your check book, as many credit cards as you own, and try to keep a few hundred dollars in cash on hand for traveling during this season.

Fill a clear plastic cup with water and freeze it. Place a coin on top. Keep this in your freezer. If the power fails and the freezer thaws, the coin will sink to the bottom of the cup. If it is less than half way down, your food is probably ok, but be cautious.

DO THIS NOW: You cannot take everything that you cherish with you. You have to safeguard these items in place. Photos, china, silverware, etc. should be placed in plastic, waterproof boxes that can be found at Office Depot. Put them above the possible high water line but not in the attic. Roofs are the first thing to blow off.

Secure cans, barbecue grills and other items that can blow away and damage property.

Put all your refrigerated items in double plastic bags. If you come home and everything is good, it only takes a few minutes to place them back on the shelf. If however, you have lost electricity, there is nothing worse than a spoiled refrigerator. Just hold your nose and toss the bags in the trash.

AFTER THE STORM: Stay away as long as you can. It is not fun to be in south Louisiana or Mississippi with no A/C or electricity. Plan your trip home depending on the availability of gasoline. You may have to buy additional containers; however, I caution that containers of gasoline are dangerous.

Buy some canned foods that will sustain you. You may find few grocery stores open and you may not have natural gas or electricity to prepare food. DON’T FORGET to stock up on bottled water. WHEN YOU RETURN: Stay healthy. The stress will bring down your immune system. Make sure to keep bottles of sanitizing hand cleaner, drink plenty of water, and maybe even take a multi-vitamin. Discuss this with your health care professional. Your insurance company should allow you to make TEMPORARY repairs to LIMIT additional damage. They will usually pay for this. It is your responsibility to attempt to limit additional damage. TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS: If it is a flood claim, you may start removing obviously destroyed items, such as carpets and drywall up to four feet. (Remove minimal drywall and carpet.) You may also take furniture out that you are sure cannot be repaired, such as mattresses. Save debris and take pictures. Do not take the debris to the front yard. Neighbors have been known to steal your stuff to make their claim look bigger. Put it in the back yard. If you dispose of a computer, remove the hard drive to prevent identity theft. Start making a list of contents, furniture and fixtures that you have lost. You will need to list what you paid for it, if you can, how old it is, and you will have to provide the cost new to replace the item. The better your documentation, the quicker your claim will be paid. Finally: Be patient. Repairs are not going to happen overnight. Insurance adjusters are not likely to put you first on their list, and tempers will be short. Just rejoice in the fact that you and your family are safe.

25


GO BEYOND the grain Story & photos by Rose Marie Sand

W

When my last name changed from the difficult-to-spell “DiGiovanni” to my fourletter married name “Sand,” I thought I had it made. But folks have a tendency to write Sands instead, so now I always add – “S-A-N-D, one grain” - when I give my name. When I made a reservation last month for a DiGiovanni family reunion vacation condo in Orange Beach, Alabama, I was again reminded of that singular word. Yes, they spelled my name wrong, but also, for as along as I can remember, summer means a sandy beach somewhere on the Gulf of Mexico. When I was a kid, we went to a fishing camp in Grand Isle every year; later, the sandy beaches in Mississippi, Florida and Alabama beckoned. I think I have as many vacation memories as there are grains of sand on the beach!

26

This June’s Gulf vacation was another one of those family love fests – 17 of us spread between two shore side condos in Orange Beach, Alabama for the first week in June. The group ranges in age from the one year old Shelby Rose to my 87 year old mother, Julia DiGiovanni, so we plan some traditional group activities but leave plenty of room for down time and new adventures.

has unbelievable shortcake, cobblers, ice cream, pies, cookies and banana bread. You gotta love that combination, fresh produce and decadent desserts - all you need is seafood and beer, and you’ve got yourself a meal plan!

Our visit to Alabama’s gulf shores always starts with a stop at Burris Farmers Market in Loxley, just a few miles off the Interstate on Highway 59 in Alabama. More than a produce stand with top quality fresh fruit and veggies, Burris’ bakery

Getting my toes in the water and butt in a beach chair is my number one priority after Burris’, so I bypass the Foley Outlet Mall and endless Gulf Shores souvenir shops, and head straight to Orange Beach through the Beach Expressway.

Once ensconced in our happy condo, I do absolutely nothing more physical than lifting a cold beverage to the trade winds for a few hours. And here, I think, is where I’ll stay for an entire week. Not to happen, because my family always schedules a bowling day (Gulf Bowl in Foley is a super bowling alley with $3 margaritas and great stuffed jalapenos), an afternoon of ping pong and racquetball at the Orange Beach Rec center (only $5 per person per day), and a movie night


at the Wharf (a resort area with a giant Ferris wheel, and the BEST grilled oysters at Villiagios Grill). Activity participants shift and change according to their interests, but one of the perks of traveling with family is that there’s always someone up for a new adventure. When I mentioned I’ve always wanted to try parasailing, my brother was more than a willing partner. A mother/daughter duo was also on board the custom powerboat, but as soon as we were suited up with life jacket and harness, I volunteered Joey and I to go up first. Let’s do this, booyah! We sat on the back end of the boat and were hooked to a bar device with a cable lifeline that slowly reeled us out to sea. Wait, I’m thinking, this is higher than the Alaska Zip Line; I’m six hundred feet in the air! Did I begin to doubt the wisdom of this particular adventure when I realized we were attached to a quickly disappearing lifeline, above shark infested Gulf waters? Are brothers ever too old to try to tickle and aggravate their big sisters when the opportunity arises? Did we opt to “get dunked in the water” when being reeled back to the boat? Yes, yes, and yes! Would I do it again? Well, while floating, Joey and I talked about who’d be around to take Shelby Rose parasailing when she’s old enough, in about ten years. I’ll let you know then. What I’ll definitely do again is the Hot Art Class at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach. Housed in a 1920’s era hotel, the art center showcases local artists and features the only public access “hot shop” for glass artists in the state. They offer both pottery and hot glass classes by reservation, and I was thrilled to try my hand at producing a hot glass flower with my nephew, Jeff DiGiovanni. It’s a first -class run operation and our resultant creations are museum worthy!

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27


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28

On June 6, 2013, you took your first steps on our family beach vacation in Orange Beach, Alabama. You were just beginning to stand up independently, and we’d hold our breath and aim our cameras as you explored.

You’re but one grain, Shelby. Singular, yes, but also a part of something eternal. A beach is a good place to put that in perspective.

D DE

N

To Shelby Rose Crosswhite:

Or maybe the memories will be shifting impressions – castles made of sand slipping into the sea, to be reborn in another shape and place on another day. The Gulf proves its eternal power; the questions and answers of eternity shift like sand in the tide.

After Hours Mechanic

RA T S

This year’s adventures were all the more fun because I shared my condo with my 14-month-old grand niece, Shelby Rose, and got to see the trip through her eyes. This month’s “Go Beyond” is dedicated to her…

I’m not sure how babies think, but I remember the delight in your eyes at the gusts of wind that blew our hair, and how you traced the flight of a seagull from the sixth floor balcony. Maybe what you’ll remember in years to come will be based on our photos – every single family member had a cell phone camera aimed at each other every few moments.

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Sli-Ku We arrived at the riverfront just as it stopped raining and I remember seeing vapor rising from the streets. I could feel the muggy heat in my lungs with each shallow breath I took. “MOM…it’s so hot!” I cried out. “Get used to it son,” mom replied. And mom would know, having grown up in Louisiana. “But you and dad said we were moving and our new home would have weather opposite of the Air Force Base in the Philippines!” With a dead-pan face and without missing a beat, my father interjected, “Yes son, the big storms over here are called hurricanes and they rotate counterclockwise to typhoons. That’s a fancy word for opposite.” I felt tricked. “That’s not right!” I yelled, pouting with my arms tightly crossed against my chest…stomping with each step I took. At the age of 5, I had learned the effectiveness of timing paired with sarcasm, the role ambiguity plays in negotiating with children, and if you call it ‘equivocating’, it’s somehow not a lie. My protest lasted about 10 steps. I still couldn’t discern the “distraction technique” yet, so as soon as dad told me to come to the back of our 70’s station wagon (tricked-out with wood paneling and a luggage rack) to grab Boomer’s leash, I had already forgotten about both the heat and the deception that had hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a special day - a picnic followed by all the festivities surrounding an old fashioned 4th of July extravaganza on the riverfront! Mom packed the best picnic baskets and always brought the best books and toys to keep me busy; after all, it was going to be an all day and night affair. The local symphony played classic All-American music, while local celebrities and dignitaries made speeches between the musical selections. I didn’t pay attention to the speakers or what they were saying. I was too busy being a kid. But just then, an important looking man said something to the crowd and my father stood up. “Is dad leaving? Why did dad stand up? Why is he waving and saying thanks to everyone?” I asked mom. I then noticed several other men close by had stood up. As I looked all around I could see others

standing. The crowd started clapping…louder and louder, eventually erupting into an ovation. Confused, I asked again, “Mom, what’s going on?” Mom told me the Mayor had asked for all the active and retired military service personnel to stand up so that we could thank them. Up to that point, I had few memories; but from that moment on, I never looked at my dad the same way again. PRIDE. I knew how pride felt before I even knew that it was a word or what the definition of it meant. I felt this swell in my chest and in the huge smile that was on my face as I saw my dad being celebrated by total strangers. He, along with the others who stood, was getting patted on the back and was being asked to have his hand shaken. Not a 4th of July goes by without me thinking of that moment. July was named in honor of the then Roman general, Julius Caesar, in honor of his birth month. It was previously called Quintilis, Latin for five when there were only 10 months in the year. July is the official start of the dog days of summer and after July 4th, there are exactly 180 days left in the year. I guess that’s why Independence Day is also called U-turn day in other parts of the world. This is also around the day that the Earth is the farthest from the sun; the aphelion if you want to get fancy. Funny that it is at this position that we are nearing the hottest temperatures! Maybe that’s why Hot Enough For Ya? Day and National Ice Cream Day both occur this month. Two scoops of sarcasm and ice cream please! How could I not mention Spoonerism (Spooner’s) Day on the 22nd? A spoonerism is an error in speech OR a deliberate play on words in which consonants or vowels are switched between two words in a phrase. A “pack of lies” turns into a “lack of pies” or a “bottle in front of me” becomes a “frontal lobotomy.” They are also called Freudian Slips when a person accidentally says a spoonerism that may be an insight into their true feelings or motives. I have a childhood friend that is a psychologist and thinks that Freud is overrated. She says any meaning attached to these “slips” are just a load of shull bit!

Fireworks burst forth You turn to face the dog days The year half over

Until next time…

Lee Kreil

29


I

n May, Jockularity celebrated its one year anniversary. During the past year, I have touched on everything from football to curling, and I have explored different issues in sports such as character problems and the depths of fan extremism. Jockularity is all about having fun with sports, pointing out issues, and hopefully, teaching people something they didn’t know before. This month, I’d like to give you something a little different: my path to sports writing. I know I joke often about how lucky all of my readers are to have a sports aficionado guiding them like I do, but this time, it isn’t (entirely) self-indulgent. Just as in life, there are lessons to be learned through sports, and I have learned some of the biggest ones through my interactions, both positive and negative, with different sports. These experiences have helped shape me into who I am; and as you will see, never in a way that I thought they would. I started my illustrious sports career at the ripe old age of 6 when I began, like so many young kids, playing Tee Ball. Now, I don’t know about the experiences of other kids or parents with this game, but when I played Tee Ball, I found myself pretty…well…bored. Oh sure, it was exciting when you were “batter up” and you got to run to base, whether you earned that hit or not. But for the most part, I never really paid enough attention to what was going on to get anything out of it. I remember being an outfielder and being more interested in the grass by the fence on the boundaries of the playing field. There was even a time (or several) when the ball fell right next to me, but I was too intrigued by a bug to go after the ball and make progress for my team. I was pretty oblivious, to say the least. I heard the people shouting at me…but I had no idea why. And 30

with it. Then, I would slowly turn around and slump after them, only to have them zoom past once again. Turn, slump, zoom, repeat. I have accepted that there are some sports I will never quite get, and I know one thing for sure – soccer was my devil.

that bug’s daily task kept my attention a lot better than a white thing in the grass by my foot. My next adventure in sports brought me to soccer. Ohhh soccer. This is where I learned that…sports are hard! For some reason, it seemed like games were always scheduled in the hottest part of the day. And honestly, I’m not even sure if I ever actually made a goal. But I do remember two things about soccer: one – those super long socks were so darn comfortable, despite how hot they were, and two – I have never walked so much in my life. That’s it. That’s all I took away from soccer. Oh sure, I would spend the first few minutes of the game running around and trying to steal the ball like all the other kids did. But after doing that for 10 minutes to no avail, I would spend the rest of the game walking and trying to catch my breath. I would walk towards the ball and the other kids would zoom past me

After my less-than-gallant soccer efforts, I didn’t really get back into sports until junior high. That is when I was first introduced to football. Even then, football was never seen as a sport so much as a status symbol or social perk for junior high kids. Saying you were a football player, even if you weren’t a starter, made you just one point more popular than you were before. So I figured – I’m a pretty big guy, I could cause some damage on the offensive or defensive line, why not earn my cool point and join the team! I never quite made first string, but that never bothered me. Much like Tee Ball, I had no clue really what was going on. Whenever I did play on the field, usually towards the end of each game, I was just a big body that moved forward. I don’t even know now if I played offense or defense. I feel like I probably tackled the wrong guy a few times…maybe they don’t remember either…but hey! We had a winning record at the end of the season! And in sports, that’s what matters! The next year, I started high school football. I went to “orientation” and the summer weightlifting program. I still have the shirt to prove it! (Even if it is a little snugger than it used to be.) I thought I was in – good as gold – with an actual chance to compete for a position, even if I often still wasn’t sure what was happening. I worked on my skills, and I really tried. And then, there was that fateful day. THE day we were going to know who was which string and what position everyone got. THE most important day of the start of my football “career.” I remember it like it was yesterday. I was doing a drill where I had


the ball and I had to go towards the end zone while a teammate blocked me from getting there. He swiveled around my waist, I went forward, he pushed back sideways, and suddenly, my knee got confused on which way to go. It eventually decided to go both ways at once, resulting in a torn anterior cruciate ligament. That meant surgeries, recovery…needless to say, pretty much putting an end to my high school football days, and putting sports behind me for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college when sports entered my life again. At this point, I had decided that my future career was in computers, specifically designing and creating video games. (Which, as it turns out, is much more difficult than I ever imagined.) Because I was so focused on my academics, I didn’t see what was coming, until it did just that. My roommate at the time was a huge fan and lover of football. And not just college football or specific teams, but everything about football. He would talk about it constantly and didn’t understand why I didn’t love it too. For whatever reason, I decided one day to humor him and started watching a few games, mostly to get him off my back. But the more I watched, the more curious I got. To feed my curiosity, I went to the most accessible outlet – Tiger Stadium. I went to a few games at Tiger Stadium and found myself beginning to feel and appreciate the energy that comes along with this fast-paced sport. Before I knew it, I was hooked. I suddenly found myself with this unquenchable thirst to know everything I could about football. It so quickly became my passion. I read everything online that I could find, jumping from link to link, learning about players, teams, coaches. Before, I never really cared about the sports I played or was forced to watch as a kid because I never understood them. Now, I understood, and what’s more, I was excited about it. This love of football has now grown into a full-blown dream of sports writing. Not just as a hobby, but one day as a career. I have been fortunate enough to have opportunities that allow me to work on these skills while gaining exposure to this sports literature world, and with each article, each issue, I learn more and more. Sports are so much more than just people playing a game on a field. There is an energy, a connection, between people that maybe you wouldn’t normally know. I have gained friends and renewed friendships through sports. And there are the obvious values that sports can teach, such as teamwork, discipline and leadership. But there’s so much more to learn and grow from, such as focus, dedication and perseverance. These are real-world values we all strive to possess. I started young, but never really saw what sports could offer and bring to my life until college. I guess the old adage “better late than never” really applies here. But I thank my readers and my editor for this chance to share my love of sports with you. I hope that I have brought excitement to your lives the way that sports do for all of us, and I look forward to many more years to come!

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31


by Jeff Perret, DVM

COMPLIANCE

I have this secret fear that most of what I do is futile. I don’t mean that in an existential way, as in the sun will explode in 6 billion years so why bother? I mean it in a very right-here, right-now way. Specifically, I worry that most of the time spent doing what I do professionally (treating ill patients) might be time wasted. And exactly why am I getting this sinking feeling? In a word – compliance. Compliance refers, in part, to owners filling a prescription and successfully getting the medication – ALL of the medication - into the patient. Some estimates of veterinary compliance are as low as 20% to 30%. That seems pretty futile to me. Writing a prescription is the easy part: jot-jot, scribble-scribble, signature, and *BAM*, let the healing begin! I’m even told I have exceptional penmanship on the prescriptions I write, for a doctor, anyway. Except it isn’t always that easy. Somewhere in between the jotjot, scribble-scribble and the healed pet, things can fall apart. The centre cannot NOT hold. Have you ever tried to pill a cat? I think, with certain felines, counting the stars in the sky might be easier, and certainly more fun. Those sharp feline teeth are clamped shut tighter than – well, they’re REALLY tight. And many pet owners don’t have the intestinal fortitude needed to deliver the pill and start the healing. So – as I said, futile. I can write prescriptions all day long, but if you can’t get the pill into the patient, well...

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its pill, fluid builds up in the lungs, they have trouble breathing and it all comes apart. If the pill goes in, they (hopefully) pass out the extra fluid though the kidneys, via the urine, and everybody’s happy.

Dogs are usually a bit easier to medicate. We have an advantage over dogs, in as much as they consider the world largely edible with very few exceptions, and can be tricked into swallowing pills wrapped in cheese, bread, peanut butter and the like. (DO NOT use any of these unless your veterinarian approves them first!) But many dogs fall into the same resistant category as cats, and if the meds don’t go in, the healing can’t begin. (I’m channeling Johnny Cochran!). Dogs and cats have amazing healing abilities, so I am not implying that modern medicine is the only way that a pet can get better. We have an old saying regarding cats... if you get all the parts of a cat together in the same room and close the door, they’ll heal. They are that good at it. Be that as it may, in most cases, the medicine really does needs to get in or the pet just won’t get better. As an example, we commonly use a medicine called furosemide (Lasix) to help pets in congestive heart failure. Lasix is a bitter little pill that tastes like an ashtray. If the dog or cat doesn’t get

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S i m i l a r l y, w e ’ v e a l l h e a r d t h e o l d saw about finishing your course of antibiotics. Here’s why it’s important: If you only finish half of the prescription, you have merely succeeded in killing off the wimpiest of the bacteria, leaving the robust and hearty, stronger bugs around to create infectious mayhem. So what to do if your cat decides that he no longer would like to take those icky bitter pills, thank you very much, after you have started the prescription? Well, you don’t have to resort to bad poetry. All is not lost. There are some things you can do to help the medicine go down. Here are some tried-and-true methods to help deliver wellness when your pet decides not to cooperate: Peanut butter is my go-to pill delivery system. Tasty, and a bit slippery. (You’ll need divine help if the dog spits it out and you need to give it again, though.) Use a gun: No, not that kind of gun! A ‘pilling gun’ has a little rubbery bit on the end that holds the pill and a plunger to deliver the goods to the back of the throat. This way, your hands stay clear of those sharp teeth and you have a better chance of getting the pill in the sweet spot where swallowing is easier than spitting it out. Many vets carry them

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and so do pet stores. Great for cats, who may laugh at the peanut butter suggestion. Get creative: One of your best friends in the battle against poor compliance is your veterinarian. And they have a secret weapon, too: compounding pharmacies. A compounding pharmacy is to a regular pharmacy what a unicorn is to a horse; similar, but better. Compounders can take that horridtasting icky pill and, as if by magic or alchemy, transform it into a delicious meaty treat or liquid. Compounders are perfect for cats, and even perfect-er for cats that need to be on chronic medication. They can flavor it with tuna, chicken, beef and possibly even mouse or unicorn flavor. Set phasers to ‘liquefy’: Some veterinarians carry liquid forms of many medications, but many of these are just repackaged human pediatric suspensions, and may come in none-too-appealing flavors like bubble gum. I have yet to meet a cat who chews bubble gum. Still, many folks consider a liquid form easier to administer than a pill.

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Wrap that rascal: Pill Pockets and similar products are soft little edible pouches intended to be wrapped around a pill to hide the smell and taste and encourage pets to take their medicine. Most dogs will not think twice about snarfing them down and even some cats will fall for this tactic. Many vets carry them, and pet retailers have them as well. Several brands exist, and they come in several flavors to match your pet’s preferences. (No unicorn flavor.) And, if all else fails, there’s YouTube. There are many good videos on how to pill a dog or cat, and seeing it done may give you the confidence to go out and do it yourself. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian: he or she (or his/her technician, who may also be a he or she) should be glad to show you how do it while you’re there. Once you get back home is not the time to realize that you have to push that bitter little pill past those gleaming chompers with no previous training. If you are going to pill the pet yourself without the aid of any of the aforementioned methods of trickery or deception, there are still a few tips that may help. For cats, grasp the head gently from behind, gently push the cheeks against the molars as this will encourage them to keep their mouth open in order to not bite themselves (sneaky, but effective). Drop or place the pill as far back on the tongue as you can get it. There is a “sweet spot” on the back center of the tongue where swallowing becomes almost a reflex and spitting the pill out is less likely to happen.

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Next, gently hold the mouth closed and give a puff of air into the nose. Really. I know this sounds nuts, but it works! (Caveat: some pets won’t like this and may try to bite your face. Don’t push your luck.) When they lick their nose, the pill has gone down. (The poet in me wanted to write “when they lick their nose, the pill has goes”. But it just didn’t work out. Sometime the muses are silent.) I have no idea how this came about evolutionarily, but it seldom fails. Nose lick = pill swallowed. Bank it. And that’s it! Pills on board, healing started, disease soonto-be conquered. You can do it! You might need a little help in the form of a flavor enhancer, or a unicorn, but it can be done. Thank you for making me feel a little less futile today. Now, what to do about that 6 billion year sun thing?

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by John Maracich III

WITH FLOOD INSURANCE RATES PRIMED TO SKYROCKET ON OCTOBER 1, WHAT CAN A LOCAL Steve Dixon, a Slidell realtor and owner of Distinctive Real Estate, has been having a great year. “Prices on houses have been creeping up since the lows of the recent recession,” says Dixon. “With interest rates still near all-time lows and the economy picking up, demand for houses in the area is increasing quarter after quarter.” Fantastic news, right? What could go wrong? “How about the price of flood insurance skyrocketing to a level that makes many

homes virtually worthless?” Yeah, that might take a positive person down a notch.

renewed. In 2010, there were several lengthy periods when flood insurance wasn’t even available.

“Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” says Dixon. “With the uncertainty caused by the Flood Insurance Act of 2012, the real estate market stands to take a major hit unless changes are made very soon.”

Because of the turmoil caused by these repeating gaps in availability, congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012. The goal was to add stability to the program, make it fiscally viable and repay the billions borrowed to rebuild after Katrina and other large storms.

The trouble started a few years ago when, for years, the National Flood Insurance Program was repeatedly being extended by congress instead of

WHAT DOES THE FLOOD INSURANCE ACT OF 2012 ACTUALLY DO? • FEMA will stop giving premium discounts to properties that are below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), even if they were up to code when built. Homes that now receive subsidized or discounted premiums will be subject to rate increases of 20% per year until they reach “true risk” levels (some rates could go from less than $1,000 to over $20,000.) • The law phases out discounted flood insurance rates for severe repetitive loss properties, second homes, business properties, homes substantially damaged or improved (i.e., greater than a percentage of the market value of the home), and homes sold to new owners. • FEMA’s base elevation tables will cause homes and buildings in zones that are very unlikely to flood to now require mandatory (if under mortgage) flood insurance at rates so high they could make ownership untenable.


U N D E R WAT E R REALTOR DO TO KEEP POSITIVE WHILE ALERTING EVERYONE OF AN IMPENDING ECONOMIC CRISIS? Unfortunately for coastal and flood prone areas, in order to achieve fiscal responsibility, flood insurance rates would need to increase by a large factor.

What happens when large numbers of properties, even whole neighborhoods, lose their value to buyers or are sellable for only pennies on the dollar?”

Since hearing of the new laws, Dixon has been sounding the alarm to anyone willing to listen. At a recent local business network meeting, he spoke on the subject in detail.

“This doesn’t just affect real estate professionals. It affects the land owners, investors, contractors, roofers, painters - a huge part of the economy can be thrown into a downward spiral.”

“Technically, there are repercussions could be even worse than the recent recession.

“Local politicians are already reacting to the situation,” says Dixon. “Senator Landrieu has been leading the way. But we need to let the folks in other states know that being high and dry doesn’t mean they won’t be affected.”

Senator Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) blocked a Landrieu amendment that would delay rate increases for 5 years. Dixon pauses, “It’s too important to wait for them to figure it out. What we can do is encourage friends and family in noncoastal states to stress their concern to their Senators and Representatives. In the short term we can postpone the increases and study the effects of the new legislation. We certainly can’t jump into the well without looking down first.” Steve Dixon is a positive person. “It’s a ‘catch 22’ - but the most encouraging thing is, well, it’s so bad you have to have faith they’re going to fix it.”

FIA 2012: SOME EXAMPLES OF ITS IMPACT ON OUR LOCAL ECONOMY: • A business in Olde Towne Slidell valued at $500,000 could have its flood insurance increase from $5,000 to $38,000 in one year. • Homeowners in low lying areas could see their flood insurance increase from a few thousand dollars to upwards of $14,000. Because laws require mortgage holders to have flood insurance, the value of a home requiring now expensive flood insurance could plummet as potential buyers bypass “high-risk” neighborhoods. Whole neighborhoods could become ghost towns. • Because of new BFE determinations, many areas north of I-12 (even with a flood elevation of 18+ feet above sea level) could see their rates go from $350 to $4,000 (and now become mandatory with mortgage) on a 1000 square foot home.


The Silver Horn “Camp Salmen” by Phil Galatas, Bon Pacquet Studio. 24” x 48” Acrylic on Canvas

EDITOR’S NOTE: In purging my email inbox of many years’ worth of junk mail, I came across an unopened email from my friend and writer, John Case, The Storyteller. The year-old message was short... “Read this. I think you’ll like it.” The following story was the attachment. Indeed, I loved it. As have millions of others who have read this literary masterpiece by famed New Orleans author Thomas Sancton, Sr. (January 11, 1915 - April 6, 2012) First appearing in HARPER’S Magazine in February 1944, “The Silver Horn” has since been included in twenty anthologies and college textbooks as an outstanding example of American prose, and has been translated into at least six different languages. The story of Camp Salmen has thus, literally, gone ‘round the world. The author said that “The Silver Horn” was written on a bleak winter Sunday in upper New York State where he was stationed temporarily in World War II. As he looked at the frozen landscape, he succumbed to an overwhelming wave of nostalgia for the warmth of the Louisiana sun on his bare shoulders in the “good old days” at Camp Salmen. His recollections of that period gave us this story. Mr. Sancton became an Eagle Scout, and went on to serve on the staff at Camp Salmen. It is wonderful to know that so many others, in some small way, have shared in the joy of one of Slidell’s most beautiful and historic places. I am grateful to Russell & Volkening as agents for the author for the permission to reprint this story. Copyright (c) 1944 Thomas Sancton.

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1. The scene is a Boy Scout summer camp, thickly grown with pines and cypress. There is a row of green clapboard cabins, with clean floors and neat double-decker bunks; there is an open field and a flag hanging still in the heavy air; and at the field’s edge the land drops down a little to the dark water of a bayou. I spent five summers here, from the time I was twelve until I entered college. I did my first real living and my first real thinking in this camp. And I think of it now. Like some reader of a long novel who turns back through the pages to find a forgotten part of the plot, and who comes with a flash of recognition across old scenes and dialogues, and characters who have gone out of the narrative but whose personalities and substance once filled pages and pages, I have gone turning back through the pages of my life. When was it and where was it- I have been asking- that I first began to believe what I now believe about the Southern world I left not many years ago, about Negroes, about democracy, about America, about life and death, about men and all their curious fates? This search has been long and turning. Often it has led me back to the years of my early teens and to the summers I spent in the Camp. I was born to the sidewalks and asphalt of the largest city and the widest street in the South. In New Orleans, broad Canal Street was never empty of speeding automobiles and streetcars, even late at night, and of people walking by, their footsteps echoing on the sidewalk. But here on the bayou another world existed. In the morning it was the strange, thin call of a bugle that broke into our sleep. Almost before we were awake we could smell the wet exercise field and the forest. Birds popped from tree to tree, plump and colorful, bluejays, mockingbirds, cardinals, flickers Audubon had painted in these woods. Rabbits ran into the bushes. Snakes we had no fear of, long thick blue racers and speckled king snakes, slid through the weeds at our approach.

2. Standing in the wet grass, still yawning and sleepy, we took the morning exercises. Night chill was in the air, but behind our backs the sun was rising, and its warmth crept onto our shoulders. After the exercises we raced along a wagon road to the swimming pool, and as we ran up, shouting and excited, two or three startled frogs made tremendous leaps and plumped beneath the glassy surface of the water. After the swim we dried our skinny sunburned bodies and ran to the mess hall. Most of us in the camp were poor boys, or boys who were almost poor. It was not a welfare camp, but the fees were low, less than a dollar a day for a camper. As a consequence it was filled with boys from modest New Orleans neighborhoods and also from the tough ones. There was always a smattering of the democratic rich: the son of the traction company president came every summer. So did his cousin from Texas, a wild, hard towhead with plenty of money and the soul of a true picaroon. He fascinated and dominated the rest of us. He was the first colorful outlaw I ever knew. But most of the well-to-do families sent their boys to camps in the Maine woods or the North Carolina mountains. Our camp was only forty miles from the city. Department store clerks, streetcar motormen, little grocers could afford the fees. We had no saddle horses, no golf course, and only a weed-grown tennis court which no one used. For diversion we fell back on nature. In the morning we performed a work detail, cutting a patch of weeds or hauling dirt in wheelbarrows to mend a road. After this we were free to swim, to paddle on the bayou in slender little Louisiana boats called pirogues, to fish for the boisterous black bass and yellow perch and fat blue catfish, and to work for our Boy Scout medals and merit badges, tracking through the grassy cut-over pine lands, cooking dough and bacon on sweet-gum spits, bandaging one another with first-aid splints.


3. These little medals and bits of colored ribbon meant a great deal to us. We wrote home enthusiastic letters about our progress, describing in detail how we had passed the tests, forwarding the comments of some eighteen year old camp officer as though it really mattered. Our parents, most of whom did not have very big events happening in their own lives, were just as eager and simple-hearted about these things, and one or two of the fathers were foolishly ambitious to have their sons win the highest number of merit badges in the area. Little things that happened during these years seemed of great importance. I remember that in my first year at camp I wore an ill-fitting Boy Scout hat. One of the councilors, a boy five years my senior who seemed to me to belong already to the grown-up world of brilliance and authority, began, in a pleasant way, to tease me about the hat. Every morning for a week he led us to the abandoned logging road and clocked us as we walked and trotted a measured mile. My hat was anchored down by a heavy chin strap; it flopped and sailed about my head as I ran to the finish line. The boy began to laugh at me. He waved his arms and called out, “Come on, you rookie!” The other kids took it up and Rookie became my first nickname. I loved it. I tingled when someone called it out. I painted it on my belt, carved it in my packing case, inked it into my hatband, and began to sign it to my letters home. Years later when we were grown I knew this camp officer again. The gap between our ages had vanished and in real life now he seemed to me a rather colorless young lawyer. He did not remember about the hat. At mealtime we ate ravenously in the mess hall. There were steaming platters of pork and beans and cabbage and stew. As we walked to the long clap-board building with our hair freshly combed and water glistening on our faces, which we washed at the flowing pipe of a big artesian well, we existed in a transport of driving hunger. 4. In the steamy fragrance of the mess hall we set up a clatter of knives and forks and china, and afterward we went to our cabins and flopped on the bunks in a state of drowsy satisfaction. Somehow, fat never formed on our skinny frames. We ran too much. We paddled in the boats. We swam. We cut firewood and played softball after supper. When there was nothing else to do we climbed in the rafters of our cabins, trying to invent complicated monkey swings that no one else could do. Every year some campers broke their arms. A giant Negro named Joe did the camp’s heavy work. He cut and trimmed the big trees, dug the deep post holes, mixed the cement, cleaned out the under-brush. His strength was a never-ending fascination for the rest of us. Joe was a light-eyed Negro, with a tan cast of skin and a huge bald dome of a head. One of his grandparents must certainly have been a white man. He lived half a mile down the bayou with his large and hazily defined family, in an old “plantation house.” Actually it was not, and never had been, a pretentious place, and I do not know what kind of plantation could have been there. The ground round it was alternately sandy and swampy and there are no plantations where pine trees grow. Pines mean sandy land. In slave days the Negroes had boiled Southern history down to a couplet: Cain’t make a living on sandy lan’ Ruther be a nigger den a po’ white man. Joe’s place stood on a cleared bend in the bayou. The weatherboards and shingles were green with age. The house rested on high slender pillars and there were patches of bright red brick where the covering mortar had fallen away. The yard was shaded by two enormous water oaks, hung with gray Spanish moss, and an iron kettle stood beneath the trees where women did the washing. At the bank of the bayou five or six towering cypress trees leaned heavily toward the water, for the slow currents of a century had washed their roots completely bare of soil. 5. To get a new anchorage on the land the trees had sent out a forest of gnarled roots and stubby knees along the shoreline. The house seemed

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beautiful and somber in these surroundings as we paddled past it on our expeditions down the bayou to the lake.

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Obviously a white man had built this place long ago, and if he had not been a plantation owner, he had at least been a man of substance. Perhaps this had been the summer home for some wealthy old New Orleans Frenchman in years gone by. Sometimes the camp officers spoke of Joe as “caretaker” on the place. But that was hardly possible. He and his family inhabited every room; chickens roamed freely, and washing hung on lines stretched across the wide porch. It was clear to us that the Negro giant was no caretaker here. He possessed this place, to have and to hold. How he got it and why we never asked him; and his presence there did not seem a very curious thing to us. Already a dark, subjective understanding of Louisiana’s History was in our blood and bones. Joe smoked strong cigarettes and chewed tobacco. His teeth were rotted stumps. We delighted in bringing him supplies of smokes from the nearby town on Saturdays to win his quick and genuine appreciation. There were two or three measures of a Cajun French ditty he used to sing, dancing and stomping the ground, waving his hat and swaying his heavy shoulders with real grace. The words and the stomping finished together, with two hard accents. He would do this every time in exchange for a gift. Yet he did it in such a way that we knew always that this was nothing more than a grown-up man doing monkeyshines for children. He enjoyed making us laugh. There was nothing servile about it. He got to be one of the people I liked best of all - not only in the camp but in my whole circumscribed world. I liked Joe very simply because he was a nice man. He recognized me every year when I returned to the camp, and after the second or third year I could tell that he considered me a real friend and was glad to have me back. 6. We talked together often, equally and easily, and when I was sixteen and seventeen and by then a councilor in the camp, Joe would do me the honor of becoming quite serious with me and of placing our whole friendship on a mature plane. I do not remember many of the things we talked about, but I do remember that a conversation with him was a reassurance and a satisfaction; that it was always good to find him walking on the road and to fall in with him. I saw a brief notice in the paper, some years after I had stopped going to the camp, that Joe had died of blood poisoning in the New Orleans Charity Hospital. I thought of those stumps of teeth, and of the many years they had been seeping infection into his system. I thought also of the tall trees I had seen him fell, and that now Joe too had come toppling to the earth. And, though I felt a quiet sorrow, I felt no anguish. Life grew rank and lush along the bayou. His old house was teeming with the spawn of his years. The sun would beat upon the water forever, the trout would break the surface, the rushes would grow thick and green. Joe had done his share of hauling and of digging. Now he could lie down in the warm and sun-drenched earth and sleep. During those summers in camp a love grew up in me for the rhythms of nature, for tropical rains that came sweeping through the pines and oaks, for the fiery midday sun, for long evenings, and the deep black nights. Great campfires were lit beside the bayou and a rushing column of luminous smoke and sparks ascended to the cypress trees. Fire gleamed in the water where bass were sleeping in the stumps. Campers wandered toward the meeting place, their flashlights swinging in the woods. We sat about the fire, singing, beating deep rumbling tomtoms made of hollowed oak logs, performing an ageless repertoire of skits and mimicry. And after these sessions one leader took the Protestant boys and another the Catholics and, standing in the open fields, in our separate groups, we prayed aloud. 7. My heart had strayed already from the formal, repetitious praying. A towering pine tree at the field’s edge made a silhouette in the starry sky. I knew the constellations, the Giant, the Dipper, the Bear. I looked for the two inseparable stars, Misar and Alcar, horse and rider and sensed the fact that Arabs named these stars a thousand years before me, and even in my boy’s ignorance I felt aware of man’s long and varied time upon the earth.

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I knew this night-filled wilderness had stretched beneath these stars for endless ages before Frenchmen had come in boats to build New Orleans. I thought of the Indians who had fished and hunted here, whose bones and broken pottery we sometimes found in grassy mounds. I felt worshipful of the earth, the pine tree, the night itself. Sometimes we packed provisions and tents and mosquito bars and paddled down the bayou to the lake, ten miles away. The lake was a great inland finger of the Gulf of Mexico, twenty miles long, ten wide. Twenty miles below us, in prehistoric times, the mouth of the Mississippi river had built up new land, and these watery prairies had pinched off the small inland gulf and made a lake of it, but it connected still through a series of passes with the Mexican Gulf. The lake teemed with croakers, catfish, shrimp, and big blue-clawed crabs. At the northern end, where we camped, a network of tributary bayous empties into the lake. For the last mile or so of their crooked lengths, where the brackish water of the lake crept into the slowmoving bayous, fish and small life were abundant, bass fed in the rushes, and muskrats built their cities of the plains. There was a relatively high, sandy point near the mouth of the bayou, where we camped. The sun went down red into the lake and left a long, clear twilight. A few stars came out. A salty wind blew in from the Mexican Gulf; it came out of the south every night. The breeze swept over the rushes and made small waves break on the sandy, grassy shore. There was a red beacon light on weather-beaten piles out in the lake and its long reflection shimmered in the water. 8. We sprayed our mosquito netting with citronella and built up a driftwood fire and lay down on canvas bedrolls spread upon the thin, tough grass and sand. The trade wind blew through our tents throughout the night. We listened to the waves. We could smell the vast salt marshes far below us. A yellow moon came out of the gulf. Far down the lake we could see the lights of a railroad bridge. We felt the beauty of this wilderness like a hunger. After two days of fishing and swimming in the lake, our shoulders and faces darker from the sun, we paddled back up the winding bayou. One summer when I was sixteen a party of us, paddling upstream to buy some candy at a crossroads store, came upon three young girls who were bathing in a sandy cove. There were four of us in the long pirogue, all of an age. For a long moment we were speechless. At last we said hello, and they answered in warm gay voices. We drifted the boat into the cove and began to speak to them. Two of the girls were sisters. The three of them had come to visit a relative who kept a fine summer lodge in the woods across the bayou from the camp. One of the sisters was fifteen and the others were seventeen. They were aglow with fresh and slender beauty, and their bathing suits were bright flags of color. Their impact upon us was overwhelming. We grew silly, tongue-tied, said foolish things we did not mean to say, shoved one another about in the boat, and finally overturned it. The loreleis laughed musical little laughs. They seemed unbearably beautiful. We had no idea what to do about it. The girls had been at the lodge for a week. They missed their beaux in New Orleans, they missed the dating and the dancing and the music. It was a gay town in the summertime. The older girls looked upon us as children; but still - they must have reflected - we were not such children at that. The younger sister, a slender child with thick brown hair and heavily crimsoned lips, sat on the bank and regarded us with a happy open face. 9. At last we took courage and asked if we could call on them that night. “Oh, yes!” they cried eagerly. Life at that moment was dazzling. Making this rendezvous was an impulsive thing to do, for it was midweek and we should have to steal away after taps and walk down a path without flashlights through a snake-infested low-land and - because the boats were counted and chained at nightfall - swim across the bayou, holding our clothes above our heads. We crept from our cabins at ten o’clock that night and met in the pine woods. One of us intoned a counting-out rhyme; the loser had to walk

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first down the path through the snake hole. He cut a long gum sapling and rattled it down the path ahead of us. We walked, bunched tightly together, tense with fear, giggling at our own unbelievable audacity, trembling in our eagerness. At the bayou’s edge we slipped out of our shorts and shirts and sneakers and, holding them above our heads with one hand, we felt our way round the knees and along the sunken roots of a cypress tree, and pushed off into the bayou and began to swim. The moor had not yet risen. We had only the silhouettes of trees to guide us. We swam closely together, cautioning one another to silence, bursting into convulsive squeals as water lilies brushed against our bodies or when a fish broke the surface near us. We swam upstream from the camp, past two bends, and waded from the water in the cove where we had met the girls. Now we were laughing with relief and excitement, and popping one another on the backsides. We scraped the glistening water from our bodies, dressed, and combed our wet hair and hurried off down the wagon path into the woods. Long ago the cove had been a landing stage for small schooners which came to load pine firewood for New Orleans. The girls were waiting for us, dressed in bright print cotton dresses and wearing hair ribbons. 10. The soft light gave age and mystery to their youthful shoulders, to their slender bodies; and, like nameless night-blooming vines in the woods about us, they bore a splendid fragrance all their own, a fragrance of youth and cleanliness and fresh cosmetics. They were playing a phonograph on the wide porch of the lodge. This was the summer of Maurice Chevalier’s great success in American movies. The little sister sang his song, rolling her eyes, turning out her soft pink lip: “If ze night-ting gait cood zing lak you.....” And she sang another: “...you make me feel so grand, I want to hand the world to you. You seem to understand Each foolish little dream I’m dreaming, scheme I’m scheming....” I was so in love with her I could hardly catch my breath. I was in love with the other sister too, and with their friend. All of the boys were in love with all of the girls; the girls - so they said - had crushes on each of us. Our hearts were afire. We walked hand in hand down the wagon trail to the cove and built a bonfire. We stretched out on blankets, laughing, singing. We sang the songs that people always sing by rivers and campfires, “There’s a Long, Long Trail A-winding winding,” “The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi”, all the rest. We kissed the girls and they held fast to us. Before this night we had been only boys, holding hands with girls in movies, not quite sure why we pursued them and acted silly. Now, lying beneath the open sky, for the first time we understood the poignance and the beauty of the human heritage. Every night for two weeks we came to see them. And when they told us goodbye the last kiss was as much a discovery as the first, and we knew that love was a thing that could never grow old. After they had gone we would steal from our cabins to sit on the back porch of the camp hospital, on a hill, where we could see the bayou and the cove and the woods where we had found them; and we sat there talking late into the night, like daemon lovers in the ballads of old. 11. I never passed the cove again, even years later when I would paddle down the bayou fishing, without remembering our meetings with a suddenly racing heart. First love is unforgettable. I had no lessons to do in those summer months of camp life. There was plenty of time to think. I was living a communal life with other boys. Among living us were embryonic bullies, scoundrels, cheats, promoters, Babbitts, Christers, and stuffed shirts; and there were also the boys of good heart, the

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unselfish, the humorous, the courageous, boys who were the salt of the earth, but who, often in their later lives, would be misled and preyed upon and set against one another by the sharp ones. One and all we lived together, ate together, slept together. Our personalities clashed, fermented, or formed amalgams. Sitting together at night in the lamplit cabins, with darkness and towering woods closing in upon us, we had our first grave talks about religion, about death, about sex. The future stretching before us was wide and fathomless. And all about us, in the grass, in the underbrush, in towering summer skies, we beheld the face of nature and the earth’s wide harmonies as they had never been revealed in our city lives. At night we could stretch out upon the field, observe the stars, and grasp the first time the fact that some were vastly deeper in space than others. In our star-study courses we heard phrases like “light years.” It began to seep into the consciousness of many of us that a hundred years or the life of an individual had little meaning in the total universe; and from this point some of us began our first gropings after moral philosophy, gropings for a belief that could give the total universe a meaning in our own lives. There was a bugler in our camp who was the first consummate expert, in any field, that I had known. He had no other talent but his music. He was a good-natured, chubby, curly-headed Italian boy, rather lazy, and when he was not back in the woods practicing his cornet he walked round with a dreamy look, as though our own handicrafts could not possibly be of interest to him. 12. Paolo had a silver trumpet and he preferred it to the bugle. He wanted to be a great musician. He would take his horn and music back into a pine clearing a quarter of a mile from the camp and all day long we could hear him practicing the runs. He blew the trumpet with a clear, sweet tone. We had supreme confidence as we stood at attention on the parade grounds and the flag came down the creaking flagpole pulley in the late afternoon sunlight, and Paolo stood alone, with everyone watching, and bugled. We were proud of him when visitors came. He had that ability of experts to create a sense of possessiveness in others. It was at bedtime that Paolo gathered up into his clear, thin music all the ineffable hungering of our awakening lives. At ten o’clock he climbed a high ladder to a life-guard platform we had nailed into the branches of a tall cypress tree beside the bayou. Paolo lived for this moment and, with the whole camp silent and listening below him in the darkness, he blew taps with a soft and ghostly beauty all his own. Somehow the music spoke for us, uttered the thing we knew but had no words for, set up a wailing in the pine trees of the brevity and splendor of human life. Lying in our bunks in the darkness of the cabin, some of us fell into sleep; but some lay in silence thinking longer, alive to the night, and I was of these. One night some ten years later I entered a smoke-filled tavern in another city where Paolo was playing in a band. By this time he had made a small reputation as a boy with a hot trumpet. I watched his now older face as he tore through the hot routines. He was tired. The silver horn made a noise but, though I knew little about it, I could see that he was not a great jazz musician. I did not go to see him any more. I wanted to remember Paolo before he had lost something, before any of us had lost it, a kind of innocence. I wanted to remember him in the land of our first discoveries, when he had climbed into a cypress tree to blow his horn, and there was a kind of Gothic-night-drench in our lives.


A Much Needed Vacation By: Carol Ruiz – Blue Star Pest Control

Okay, back to the house. Alert a trusted neighbor that you are going on vacation and when to expect you back. Ask if they can pick up the mail, newspaper or any deliveries inadvertently left on the porch so they do not pile up. Purchase a device that can turn the lights on in the evenings, making it appear that someone is home. Raise the thermostat or turn off your AC unit altogether. No need to keep it cool if you’re not home. We also shut off the main water line when we are gone for a long trip. Think about disarming the electric garage door, since thieves can gain entry with a universal opener. Let your gardener and pest operator know not to leave

M

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Dear M

Now I know that I have not talked about pests this month. But taking some time away from work to rest and rejuvenate is so important. It clears the head and renews the soul, making you ready to face the challenges of life. If you should return home to find ants invading the yard, drain flies hovering over the trash you forgot to take out, or nasty roaches in the bathrooms, just pick up the phone and call us, we’ll be there.

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a ce is uran s n i ealth en ht, h g i as wh r w e t r i e n You w g tha fusin n o c ore ied! lot m marr t ur o g nd yo ad a D n & r e you nt conc geme your a r n o f a ks efit M Than g Ben n i l l ng a st thi ce - c e b e advi as th age w r They e k o mily! a & Br f y m d got o for ns an d o i d t l s I cou r que est of ou l l the b a h d g e u r o e e thr answ erag v o c t e bes rate. us th reat g a and ders ow! provi ted n c e t o e pr - we’r m o M worry Don’t

paperwork on the door. Someone should have a key to your home for emergencies or to care for pets left at home. If you can’t find someone to take care of your pets, it is best to board them. Peace of mind is worth the price you’ll pay. Social media is great but now is not the time to post vacation plans. letting everyone know your home is empty and vulnerable to burglars.

Be

Now once you think that you’ve successfully chosen and booked the perfect vacation spot and packed the luggage, are you sure you haven’t forgotten anything? Here are some things I think are worth mentioning. If traveling with children on a road trip, I load big beach bags with these items: snacks and games for the ride (hold back on the number of drinks unless you like lots of potty breaks), an extra change of clothes for each kid (because pulling over to fish through the luggage when Sally spills her juice box all over herself and her brother is no fun), and a big

container of sani-wipes/baby wipes for the car (priceless). Gallon zip-bags are a must if you have a baby diaper emergency. While you’re at it, pack a handful of plastic grocery bags to collect trash in until the next stop. I always bring a few meds like Tylenol, Aleve, Benadryl - oh, and Band-Aids. Some cars are equipped with a DVD player so don’t forget to bring the DVDs. Our car does not have one but we borrowed a friend’s portable one. It was a lifesaver. If ya’ll are flying, don’t forget the gum to help with the kids’ little ears and the cabin pressure.

ee

How have you been spending your summer? Hopefully many of you have taken or are planning to take a much needed vacation. Maybe you’ll take a cruise to the islands, just you and your honey, a trip to Disney with the kids or just a simple local beach trip. Packing up the family and heading out of town is an exciting idea no matter where your travel destination is. We all need a change of scenery once in awhile. It is important to plan out the details, although some of us like to just pack a bag, jump in the car and see where the road takes us. Not me, I like to know where we are going and what we’re going to do when we get there, so plan I must.

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Some of the AWESOME members of the Noon Networkers of BNI Tony Walley of Tojo‛s thought . Kendra would never notice the rabbit ears. BUSTED!


36th Edition - July 2013  

Pelicans on Parade