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Vol. 79 February 2017

Krewe of Slidellians Bal Masque

Denim & Diamonds February 18, 2017



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"MisChief Jester With A Twist" created exclusively for WGNO News With A Twist

Photo by Kim Bergeron

MisChief Jester with a Twist was created with the camera rolling.

Connie Born with Stephanie Oswald

Louisiana Artist

CONNIE BORN Artist Connie Born's whimsical creations represent the richly diverse and fascinating culture that is alive in Louisiana. Custom made creations are available for any occasion or event. New additions to Born's Krewe of MisChief are created every day in the Gallery and Studio in the Marketplace at 1808 Front Street in Slidell. Visit the Gallery to see the new creations currently in process and to start your collection today! Check out our Facebook page or call us and see the MisChief we can create for YOU!

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Editor’s Letter

Kendra Maness

Editor/Publisher Slidell Magazine

One of my favorite pics of all time! With my SWCC sister and friend, Ellen Lamarque, at the Krewe of Slidellians Ball, 2013.

It’s hard to write about the Slidell Women’s Civic Club without sounding like I’m selling something. This is not a pitch - I am simply a proud member of SWCC and love this organization sooo much! Admittedly, I applied for membership in SWCC as a “resume builder”. After all, almost every successful woman I knew was involved in some way with SWCC. I didn’t know very much about their mission or beliefs, but I knew that I wanted to be one of those succesful women. I had heard about SWCC since I was a child and had seen their pictures

PO Box 4147 • Slidell, LA 70459 985-789-0687

Kendra Maness - Editor/Publisher

Devin Reeson - Graphic Designer Illustrations by: Zac McGovern CONTRIBUTING WRITERS EFOP, Charlotte Lowry Collins The Storyteller, John Case Jockularity, Corey Hogue Pet Points, Jeff Perret, DVM Crimmi-Mommly Insane, Leslie Gates Go Beyond, Rose Marie Sand Making Cents of Your Money, Mike Rich Sixty...Plus, Donna Bush Slidell Women’s Civic Club & Krewe of Slidellians, Ellen Lamarque & Kendra Maness

in Slidell newspapers my entire life. I thought that, at the very least, I could be a member of this club, almost like I’m a member of the gym: well-intended, rarely attended. I didn’t fully understand the mission of this dynamic group of community servants and leaders - or the impact they would have in my life. As I composed this letter, I looked through my photo catalog for pictures of my SWCC sisters and the journey I’ve taken with them. Just about every event, every special moment in my life, my sisters were there. We’ve donated our time and money - blood, sweat and tears - together.

We’ve cried together with the loss of a loved one, or the diagnosis of one of our own. We’ve marched together, worked together, prayed together, poured pink dye into fountains together, served lunches for the hungry, bought items for the needy, danced for pure joy and the entertainment of others, helped the homeless, celebrated the holidays, laughed, counseled, and connected in ways I can’t even begin to describe. Above are just a few of the HUNDREDS of pictures I have with my SWCC sisters. I love them all. They are good people doing good things. I’m humbled to be one of them and carry forward the proud tradition of community stewardship they’ve honored for 70 years.



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Extraordinarily Fascinating “Ordinary” People by Charlotte Lowry Collins

Brian Fontenot “Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantisize about a world to which we aspire.” ~ Willem Dafoe

It was that one stormy day in January when tornadoes hit Louisiana… cold, and dreary. Then I hopped inside the Cutting Edge Center for the Arts, and Brian made it all go away. His wit and positive attitude contrasted sharply with the bleary scene behind the floor to ceiling storefront windows. Despite his three week cold, this thespian displayed energy and a love for the arts, family and friends, in a raucous sort of way. I had to know, as I always do, if he had always been this way, and what made him who he was. “Honey, my momma and grandmother took me with them on weekends, and we painted the town! My Dad and brother, Ricky, would get up before dawn and go hunting. I had a choice,” and Brian struck a tongue-and-cheek thinker pose. “Let’s see...cold, dark and dead animals, or sleep late, ‘go to town’, shop, eat, and hang out in Olde Towne? Girl, I loved Saturdays with Grandma and Mom. When they talked, I learned a lot about life and what was going on around town,” and he threw one coy eyebrow up. 8

“Both of my parents taught me about a good work ethic. My dad, Frank Fontenot, was the youngest of ten kids from Whitehall, Louisiana. He was a hard worker, and his dad was a farmer that grew sweet

potatoes and strawberries. He didn’t have much time for education. My mom, Georgette Graham Fontenot, had a father who successfully raised fourteen kids on a first-grade education. He couldn’t read or write, but did well by sheer hard work and determination. He had a dairy farm in Amite, then bought one truck. Eventually, he had a professional trucking business.” “I grew up in Slidell in Castle Manor and went to Florida Avenue, Bon Ecole, Slidell Junior and High Schools. Dad was a welder, and mom stayed home with Ricky and me. She also ran a business at home and made a hair salon out of our living room. I grew up in that salon.” Brian explained that his mom’s income was the “extra money” that provided family trips, clothes, and everything outside of the budget. While she cooked dinner, Brian worked in her salon cleaning up after her day’s work. He sterilized the brushes, swept, and learned a lot about hard work himself. But it was the clients that he loved.

“The stories from those classy Southern ladies were life lessons. They really influenced my life, and taught me the love of storytelling.” I learned that these ladies never missed an appointment, unless there was a hurricane or family emergency. “You could set your watch by them,” Brian expounded. “I loved Fridays at one o’clock. That brought a lady from Natchez, Mississippi. She was in her eighties, and dressed to the nines in her silk stockings, slip, high heels, gloves, and beautiful attire. She was used to being attended to, and would ask me,” (his voice changed to resonate hers), ‘Brian, how much would you charge Ms. Nancy for a drink of water?’ Then she took a little bitty sip and handed it back to me. Thirty minutes later, she would ask the same question, and take another dainty sip,” and Brian demonstrated her gestures, much to my amusement. “Then she would turn to my mom and ask,” (here Brian threw his hands on his hip), ‘Georgette, could I get one of Frankie’s cigarettes? I only smoke on Fridays, you know.’” As Brian re-enacted his childhood scenes, I was transported back to the good old days, with tears of laughter. So you see, Brian worked from an early age. He started his own professional career as a hairdresser at the young age of eighteen. As he says, “Hair is my life, and I’ll work behind a chair until I can’t stand up anymore. I make people look good and feel good. For me, it’s more of an art form than a job. I think about how textures, color, shapes and forms can transform a person’s looks. What’s more, I have fun doing it. While other people get blue on Sundays looking toward Monday, I can’t wait. Monday mornings, I jump out of bed, grab my dogs, and go to work!” This was punctuated with a snap of fingers, and a flourish of his entire body. Today, he is the proud owner of Attractions Salon. Brian’s salon is an extension of his personality. They serve wine, and it is like sitting in someone’s living room as the conversations flow. “My two dogs, Oliver, a Terrier mix, and Yanni, a Lhasa/Shih-tzu, come right along with me to the salon. The dogs can be intimidated by my male friends, but not the females. I have three more at home, and would have more if it was feasible. We even did a play about a dog, titled Sylvia. Some of my favorite actresses were in that play. We also held a food drive in conjunction with the play for people and animals,” Brian pointed out the sacks of dog food waiting to be delivered. Then Brian grew serious, and leaned forward towards me. “Those clients from my childhood still have an effect on me. I remember Bertha Reine, one of my first customers, always said, ‘Travel while you’re young, ‘cause you can’t walk when you’re my age. You see this?’” (Brian imitated her flashing her right hand in his face.) ‘This is how many friends you’ll have when you are in your eighties, maybe five. But that’s really ok, because people come and go from your life for a darn

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good reason.’ So now I take time to appreciate those around me, and travel when work allows.” Brian can pose and intone all of his past clients perfectly. A visit with him is like going to the movies. Stopping to take one of several business calls on his off day, Brian spoke over his shoulder, “You may have to talk to entertain. But you have to listen to learn…”

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When Brian finished booking another appointment, he continued as if no time had lapsed, “Darling, I thought I knew everything when I was a young man. But when I got older, I realized I was not all that. There is a lot of pressure these days on kids to do well academically. I learned that smarts are great, but it is the hard work they put into it that makes or breaks it for most of them. I’m successful now because of the hard work I put in to get where I want to be.” Brian and his partner, visual artist Richard Fuentes, bought a small suite on Robert Blvd for the salon in August 2014. The business thrived, causing them to expand to a larger suite just a year later. In 2015, Brian and Richard were married in their salon/theater with 120 friends and family - as soon as same-sex marriage was legal in Louisiana. Soon after, he and Richard bought the art gallery/studio and a dance studio two doors down. You may be wondering, where did the theater come in, as did I. In 2007, Brian auditioned for his first theatrical show at age 27 for Cabaret at Slidell Little Theater. He came away with the lead. In the end, Brian Fontenot was awarded the Jenny Award for Best Male Performance in a Musical. After that, he was hooked. Brian served on the Board of Directors, then struck off on his own. “Slidell needed diversity in the types of shows they put on, and I wanted to provide that opportunity for my community. Slidell Little Theater does what they do very well. I just wanted to add other types of art. I started Cutting Edge with two ladies in the little space next door. Richard began doing set design for me. Now he is hooked too, and acts and sings himself. I call him Baldy-locks, and we are the sole business partners today. It is our life, and requires constant energy.”

Laughing, Brian reminisced, “You wouldn’t have believed how we started though. Richard and I built risers on wheels and rolled everything for the theater into the hair salon on Fridays, and back out again on Sundays. I cut the legs off chairs to create theater-style seating. Then I pumped up the salon chairs for the back row, and literally flipped the salon into a theater. Everyone wanted to sit in the salon chairs. To this day, they ask me to pump up a salon chair for them, but I have real theater seating now. We have a two-story suite that is a hundred-seat theater. We outgrew the small space lickety-split,” and he snapped his fingers proudly. Obviously making fun of himself, Brian laughed and relayed, “I thought it would be a cakewalk to renovate. You know, knock out a wall here, slap on paint, and be done.” Rolling his eyes, he exclaimed, “Honey, I thought we would never be through. There was six months of hell trying to get permits, meet regulations, and change things back again for different ordinances. I seriously questioned if it was worth all the back and forth for a while. But you know me…” With a bounce he added, “Then we bought a dance studio and art gallery/studio next door. Now the complex is the Cutting Edge Center for theArts. Be careful what you wish for,” and he waggled his finger humorously. I asked what his favorite role was, and he named Cabaret initially. Then, he remembered Greater Tuna, and went into show mode. “One friend and I choreographed the entire play. I love a good comedy! I played ten people, both men and women,” and he waggled his eyebrows. Whirling around, Brian re-enacted the process of grabbing props fast and furiously. His energy suddenly picked up a notch. “I changed hats, and wigs, or glasses, and costumes, and out I would go! Then I would come back and do that over and over... whew!” Brian perched back next to me, thinking aloud, “We’re gonna do another one of those soon!” He and Richard go to New York as often as possible. “I like to see Broadway plays before they get popular. I also like to travel the U.S. and see local plays. We support local theater, and Slidell really has a phenomenally great pool of talent. Not just in theater, but artists, musicians, writers, and critics. We just don’t get the credit we deserve. I would love to see Slidell support the arts the way New Orleans does.” Taking his thoughts to a higher level, Brian responded, “You know, people are actually more alike than we

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are different. I wish we focused more on making the world a better place in 2017. I promised myself to give better customer service to all who grace my doors. I am going to add video to my productions,” he said with a raised finger. “Time to one-up what we do!” “I also promised to do more community outreach. I am always looking to help local non-profits and charities. We’ve helped Slidell Women’s Civic Club, Safe Harbor, and the Slidell Animal Assistance League, for starters. I really have a soft spot in my heart for animals. I do wish I could do more for Olde Towne, that’s the heart of our city. But they have some great salons, and I wouldn’t want to step on that. I started in Castle Manor with mom, and these are my stomping grounds.” Stepping back in time, Brian told me how much the Robert Boulevard area has changed. It began as Robert Road, with two lanes and deep ditches on both sides. The road was elevated, and he loved to ride his bike up and down the hills in the road. “I went to school right down the road at Slidell High, and I assure you, I was eccentric even then.” Brian and I laughed through his tales of youth, especially the part where he determined to get on the Color Guard, which was all girls before and after. But no one could stop


him, so they had to change the uniform from the standard skirts, to pants, just to accommodate him. Of course, they went back to skirts the minute he graduated. “I was always surprising them when I became Captain. For Halloween we put black plastics bags over our flags with bright orange polka dots spray painted on them.” Laughing harder, he said, “Actually, I think I drove them half crazy! I learned at a young age that it is always easier to ask forgiveness.” There weren’t many tales that I was surprised by, except for one. I didn’t realize that Brian was married for seven years to a girl he had known since they were kids. “I was Baptist, and it was the right thing to do. It didn’t work for many reasons, but I was much happier afterward.” Jumping up fashionably, Brian announced, “Then at 27, I came out, and no one was surprised. I think my parents always sensed it about me. It is far easier for kids to come out these days, which is a good thing. As you can tell, I love women, especially strong women. I work with them all the time, and have great female friends. I just can’t seem to put up with all that estrogen for long at a stretch. Whoo,” and Brian sat back down. “Gay isn’t who I am, nor does it define me. But it does shape me. I’ve also met a lot

of gay people I can’t put up with for long. I’m pretty open about who I am inside. I am a very caring person, but I can’t put up with making false pretenses.” This is certainly true, as Brian dressed in his patched jeans, flip flops and a flannel shirt for the interview. As he says, “I am who I am. If I’ve done it, I’ve done it in public. I do best with up-front people. We just got back from Chicago, and Mid-westerners are pretty in your face about who they are and what they think and believe. I respect that in a person.” We started talking again about Olde Towne. “I’ve always loved shopping in Slidell at the old mom and pop stores. That’s the direction I think small towns are going back to, and we have a jump on it, going way back to our original history. Cheap prices aren’t the only thing; there is a joy to moving slower and meeting people. I would love to see Slidell quaint again. We just need to support local people, local arts, and local businesses to achieve that small town charm.” When asked what his goals were, and what he wished for his community in the future, Brian wanted to continue the current direction in a bigger way. “We are on the right track.” Then he quoted one of his favorite New Orleanians, Becky Allen, “If it’s worth doing dawlin’, it’s worth over doing.”




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Dine & Discover Speaker: Kelly Lutman Chamber • 11:30am




Valentine's Day





Ash Wednesday


National Margarita Day

Northshore Harbor Center 11am - 1pm

Think Red Luncheon

Business After Hours Chamber Martketplace 5-7PM




World Book Day


Battle on the Bayou Fitness Competition Fritchie Park • 8am A Day for Girl's Health SMH Cancer Center • 10am

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Krewe of Bilge Starts at Marina Cafe • 12pm Krewe of Poseidon Starts at Salmen • 1pm Krewe of Mona Lisa Moon Pie Starts at Carey Street • 7pm 11



Inner Wheel Walk John Slidell Park • 9am Krewe de Paws Starts at Robert Street • 10am Krewe of Titans • 6:30pm Denim & Diamonds Slidellians Ball Harbor Center • 7pm


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Krewe of Selene Starts at Salmen • 6:30pm

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Storyteller TOBY From “Dinosaur Bones” Slidell Magazine Volume 76, Nov. 2016:

Toby would seek out neighborhood kids when they were about ten years old and become their best friend until they outgrew him. That would have been when they were about fourteen. Then he would be recycled down to another group and start over.

If it had not been for this story, I don’t suppose I would have thought about Toby in my lifetime. It makes me sad knowing how we used him and just cast him away, much like a toy you have outgrown. I think Toby deserves a story of his own. ~ John S. Case This is Toby’s story. His grave marker says he was born in 1917 and died in 1997. I remember hearing he was sick, but I made no effort to go see him. I think I have gained more humility and concern for others in the last twenty years than I had back then. If it were now, I would make an effort. I have mentioned Toby in the past. Toby was special. I don’t like the word retarded; that sounds cruel. I don’t like the words simple-minded, or mentally challenged,


which sound like he was manufactured. I will just say he was special and I think you will understand. He may have been the luckiest guy I have ever known. He was always a child. He could do the things children do and not be criticized. Everyone said he had the mind of a child. In fact, the last time I saw him, he must have been over fifty years old, but he was on his knees shooting marbles with several pre-teen kids.

I remember when he was part of our group. I was ten years old, which would have made Toby around forty. Tommy and I were going fishing, and we were walking down a logging road when we saw him sitting on a dilapidated, temporary bridge. He was fishing, or pretending to fish. There was little water in the creek below, and even at ten years old, I knew the chances of catching any fish there were slim. There would be no chance to catch anything of any size. Tommy knew him, but Tommy had already moved on to other friends because he was older. I fit the perfect mold to be adopted by Toby. We asked him if he wanted to go fish with us in the river. He readily agreed.

I think that day we opened a new world to Toby and were involved in an event that would forever change his life and, indirectly, others. I would learn later that his caretaker, who was his sister, gave him boundaries of where he could and could not go. The river, for more reasons than one, was out of bounds.

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When he saw the river and we waded out on a sandbar, you would have thought he had discovered the Isle of Capris. Like a child on his first visit to the beach, Toby splashed into the water and was soon in the deep channel of the river. We did not know he could not swim.



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Toby, of course, was an adult; but he was not a large man. I was far too small to rescue him. Tommy did not hesitate and had the presence of mind to run down the sandbar to get ahead of the current. Toby floated directly into his arms and Tommy pulled him ashore. He had swallowed some water and panicked, but there was no real harm done. We knew then that we had a project that would last most of the summer. We would teach Toby to swim.

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Based on this previous encounter with water, Toby had an unnatural fear of getting into even shallow water. We knew that we would have to break that fear before we could have any success with our lessons. He did not want water to touch his nose. We conditioned him by squirting a hose in his face and eventually making him inhale some of the water. Finally, it was time to move to the next step.

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Toby also had a fear of dark water, so we knew our next step would have to be someone’s pool. No one we knew had one, but there was a public pool in town. That was our only choice. As much as we wanted to help Toby, we found ourselves a little embarrassed to be seen with him at certain places. We decided to sneak Toby into the city pool just after dark. The fence was supposed to be locked, but a friend of ours and Toby’s worked there, and left it open for us. We could not believe how well Toby was doing, but he still avoided going to the deep end. Suddenly, as if we were bank robbers, the entire city police force rushed in the gate. They did not have guns drawn, but because Toby had never had this type confrontation, he panicked. He started swimming as fast as he could toward the deep end. As he got to the eight-foot mark, a policeman grabbed him and pulled him onto the perimeter. I did not know it at the time, but they too knew Toby. Two of them had gone through the friendship ritual with him. The police agreed there was no harm-no foul, and we had accomplished our goal of teaching him to swim. We did not know what a contribution we had made. During my time with Toby, we had some fun and we had some heartache. Toby’s sister, his caretaker, died of cancer about a year after the swimming incident. Toby became homeless, in that he was not capable of living by himself. In those days, the only place for people like Toby was


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the state insane asylum. It was a dismal place. One of the policemen who caught us at the pool drove him up there. Toby was not told where or why he was going, or that he would not be coming home. As with all new admits, he was kept in solitary confinement until he could be evaluated. That took about a week. We learned he had lost ten pounds and cried for his sister all day and night. He could not process that she was not coming back. The news got back to the people in our community. It also got back to all the kids he had befriended over the years. We now had a new project. We put posters all over town. BRING TOBY HOME. We exploited him a little with a picture of him playing Red Rover with a group of kids. We knew he would not care. We had a mission. We wrote (and when I say wrote, I mean we handwrote because we could not type) a letter to all the churches, asking them to have a prayer Sunday for Toby. Sometimes, something good happens out of something bad. Now, I don’t believe the Lord would do this, but on the very Sunday that was Prayer for Toby Day,

Bennie Payne had an automobile accident on his way to church. Bennie had been a wounded Korean War vet and walked with a limp. He got some government disability and lived alone in a modest home built on a concrete drainage ditch that ran behind his house. The wreck broke his good leg in three places, and it was determined that he would be even more handicapped than he had been before. He would have to be institutionalized if he could not get some live-in help. Our prayers were answered. I know the whole town thought they had seen a miracle. It did not stop there. The city found a part-time job for Toby. He would be the lifeguard at the city’s kiddy pool. It was only eighteen inches deep, but some careless mother almost let her infant drown there. Again, the Lord intervened and Toby had a job. It is said he saved two lives while on the job there, but I can’t confirm this. I do know he knew where the dinosaur was buried. I have told that story before. Later, he said treasure was buried in a place nearby. I was around to find the dinosaur bones, but by the time he told

about the treasure, I too had handed him down to a younger crowd. The last story I heard about Toby was while I was in college. There was a culvert the kids played in on the drainage ditch, upstream from the house Toby lived in with Bennie Payne. One day, out of nowhere, there was a flash flood and the water rose rapidly in the culvert. All the kids got out safely, except one. Toby heard children screaming and ran out to see what had happened. He must have remembered the way Tommy saved him, because he ran downstream and caught the little boy. This kid was almost dead, but Toby had learned CPR and he had the child breathing and vomiting by the time the ambulance arrived. Toby lived the last five years of his life in a retirement home payed for by social services. The residents all loved him. They said it was like having a child around again.

 John Case

February 2017

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There are plenty of landmarks in our home of the free and land of the brave, and I recently got to thinking about all of the different places that we Americans (and even Internationals) can recognize simply by sight. The Statue of Liberty! The Brooklyn Bridge! The mini Eiffel Tower in Vegas! But there is one landmark that we Louisianians hold in higher regard than perhaps any other - our big white dome in the sky. It fits in perfectly to our New Orleans skyline and is one of the biggest highlights of New Orleans for locals and sightseers alike. Chances are, every single one of you has been inside those curved walls at some point in your life. I went to my first Saints game (a playoff game) only in the past few years, and the energy you find inside the Dome is palpable. You become a part of the heartbeat that moves throughout, one with the 76,468 others that fit inside the

of her first experience in the Dome - in 1996, Disney held a movie premiere in the streets of New Orleans and premiered one of its most famous movies within those curved walls! And she was there!

same space, all yearning and moving towards the common goal, with the same spirit. I was reminiscing and discussing this with my wife and how we should go to another game next season, and she began telling me the story

When I think of the Dome, mostly I think of our boys in black and gold rising back up next year under that big white top, but there have been countless events held in the Dome, much more than sporting events, throughout the years. What other kinds of interesting, and even obscure, events have those 76,000 seats seen? And so the research began‌the history of our landmark. What else has created a heartbeat over the years in our native city? What else is our already-rich New Orleans history a part of? What else, oh what else, have you done, Superdome?

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September 1978 - Muhammad Ali defeated Leon Spinks before a crowd 65,000 in a famous “September to Remember” fight. Ali became the first three-time heavyweight champion of the world by avenging his loss to Spinks in their first fight earlier that same year. Ya’ll. Muhammad Ali was in the Dome! Maybe this was more public knowledge to some of you, but considering I hadn’t been born yet, it was news to me. Can you imagine being in that crowd and seeing this man, this myth, this legend, break records, and see the sweat rolling down his gloves? Knowing that events like this, that men like this, were in that facility, gives me shivers. Imagine the next time you are in the Dome - you stand where Muhammad Ali once stood (sort of). You are a part of his historical presence. Tell me that doesn’t give you shivers. December 1981 - The Rolling Stones played to 87,500 fans in what ranked as the world’s largest indoor concert for over three decades. So these days, as I mentioned, there are somewhere in the ballpark of 76K seats in the dome. So imagine 87 THOUSAND people inside the Dome, standing on the “field” and jamming out to the Stones. Imagine being in the throngs of that mosh pit. Maybe some of you were there! Or better yet, imagine being part of the band and looking out and seeing that many people in one space cheering for YOU. Goosebumps!! Anyone else??

September 1987 - Pope John Paul II visited the Superdome in his tour of New Orleans and during a string of events held in the city. He visited St. Louis Cathedral, rode in the popemobile from the French Quarter to the Superdome, and spoke at separate events there to black Catholics; elementary, secondary and religious educators; and thousands of young people. In the afternoon, he celebrated an outdoor Mass at the Lakefront -- an estimated

130,000 worshippers attended the outdoor service -- and ended the day by greeting Catholic educators at Xavier University. Those who were in attendance are now able to say that they once saw a real life saint in the flesh and blood, as since that visit Pope John II was canonized in 2014. How amazing is it that our Superdome, home of our Saints, saw the real deal just 30 years ago?

August 1988 - The Republican National Convention was held in the Dome, where George H. W. Bush was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate. The convention is best known for Bush’s “thousand points of light” speech, in which he accepted the nomination and spoke the ever-famous words: “Read my lips: No new taxes.” This was the most popular sound bite that came out of the convention. The successful speech gave Bush a substantial boost that he was able to capitalize on to win the 1988 presidential election. You could say New Orleans helped to make a president!

June 1996 - Walt Disney’s premiere of their new movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The event featured then-Disney President and CEO Michael Eisner and then-New Orleans mayor Marc Morial, as well as a high-energy spectacular parade that wound from Jackson Square through the New Orleans French Quarter and on to the world’s largest stage at the Louisiana Superdome. Does Disney do anything BUT high-energy and spectacular? And because the Superdome is round, six giant screens were installed over the football field and were synchronized with six projectors to all show the new film at the same time. I work in IT now, but can you imagine working on that tech in 1996? Synchronizing screens and organizing such a huge event? My wife

assures me it was something really spectacular. She was only 8 years old then, and it’s still something she has never forgotten.

August 2005 - The Superdome served as a “Refuge of Last Resort” for 30,000 evacuees during the anomaly that was Hurricane Katrina, and was closed for 13 months for major repairs and improvements. Sure, this one most of us knew about, but really take a moment now to think about it. Thirty-thousand people. Who lost their homes, who lost loved ones, who lost everything. Sleeping on cots surrounded by thousands of others who were all suffering from both the same, and very different, feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful that I didn’t have to live in a shelter during that hellish time in all our lives, but a part of me wishes I had thought to reach out, to volunteer or visit those in the Dome, to be able to really appreciate what that scene looked like, and be even more grateful for what I had. Even then, that big white dome in our sky was home for so many people. A somber, yet ever-present heartbeat, indeed. The Dome also regularly serves as host to Mardi Gras balls, parades, and championship games of all shapes and sizes. To be in the Dome is to truly be a part of history. I can’t wait for the next time I visit it. I want to sincerely take a moment to stand still and appreciate all that has happened in the walls around me, all that I am becoming a part of just by being in this historical landmark that we are so lucky to have so close to us. The next time you see that big curve in the skyline, I encourage you to take a moment and appreciate the history it represents, and all that it has seen. “If these walls could talk” has perhaps never been more relevant than our own hometown landmark. There are dozens more events than those I have listed here, so take some time and do some research of your own. Find the events that you didn’t know New Orleans has seen! You might just learn something about yourself, or your loved ones, that makes you a bigger part of our New Orleans legend than you even knew.


Of Your Money By Mike Rich, CFP® Pontchartrain Investment Management

Working to achieve financial security in the real world. In the Big Rock Candy Mountains You never change your socks, And the little streams of alcohol Come trickling down the rocks. There’s a lake of stew And of whiskey, too. You can paddle all around it In a big canoe, In the Big Rock Candy Mountains. Attributed to Harry McClintock

The song captioned above describes a hobo’s vision of the perfect life, one in which no one has to work, food and drink are there for the taking, and life is good. Personally, I like to change my socks every now and then, but the other parts sound pretty good to me. It would be nice if achieving financial security worked the same way. Alas, I’ve discovered that it does not. I occasionally joke with some of my clients that I wish I had a magic wand I could wave that would make everyone’s

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money troubles go away and so we could all be rich. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found such a wand and, in my more rational moments, I’ll admit that one probably doesn’t exist. In the nine years I’ve been in this business, I’ve observed that most people who become financially secure have to work at it. It’s not necessarily difficult work, but it requires some basic elements: time, commitment, and, sometimes, sacrifice. Even with these, financial security is not guaranteed, of course, but most of the folks I see who get to the point where they don’t have to worry much about money (except how to enjoy it) share several things in common. Here are some of them (and they might work for you):

1) THEY HAVE RESISTED THE “KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES” MIND-SET. Just about everyone does something silly with his or her money from time to time. Even though they, too, have suffered through the inevitable money sidetracks and mistakes, my financially-secure clients have mainly focused on living within their means, coupled with slow and consistent saving and investing. There is no magic to this approach, just commitment and a plan. Here’s my offer: tell me your financial goal, and I’ll help you figure out a reasonable way to perhaps get there. If it can’t be done, I’ll tell you, and we’ll work on an alternate plan. The key is to actually have a goal and a plan. Sadly, most people don’t, and that’s almost a sure path to financial mediocrity. Don’t be one of those people. Call me.

2) THEY HAVE BUILT A SOURCE OF GUARANTEED INCOME TO SUPPLEMENT SOCIAL SECURITY. For many people, the bedrock of retirement financial well-being is the benefit they will collect from the Social Security program. However, since the average monthly check for a retired worker is only $1,3411, it can only safely serve as one brick

in the foundation. Most people will need something more, and, if a client doesn’t have an employer pension, I like to see retirement money coming from another guaranteed source. For example, an annuity can provide you (and your spouse) with a source of money that will never run out.2 If you’d like to learn more about this useful financial tool, call me.

3) THEY HAVE A PLAN FOR DEALING WITH LONG TERM CARE. In almost every article I write, I urge my readers to plan for long term care, and I have a good reason: a lot of us are going to need it. Seven out of ten people over the age of 65 are going to need some type of care before they die.3 If it’s something a family member can’t (or won’t) do, that care is going to cost a lot of money. If you think the 70% number is exaggerated, I’ve got news for you. I’m seeing it happen in my own practice among my older clients (including members of my family), and so are a lot of other advisors. Our most financially secure clients know which pot of money they’re going to spend first to

pay for their long term care, and many of them are going to let an insurance company pick up most or all of the tab.4 Contrary to what you might have heard, long term care insurance does not have to be a “cost” to your financial plan. I’ve stated this before and I’ll state it again: I believe that paying for long term care – or, rather, not being able to pay for it – will be the defining financial issue for many baby boomers. Don’t go into your retirement years without a strategy for dealing with this. Call me, and we’ll work on a plan for you.

4) THEY HAVE THEIR LEGAL AFFAIRS IN ORDER. Planning for the orderly disposal of one’s estate is not just for rich people. Everyone needs a will and a power of attorney. Your spouse needs them, too. And, if you don’t want to put your family members into the horrible position of having to make serious medical decisions for you if you can’t, then you need a living will and medical power of attorney, as well. Your attorney will tell you if you need a trust. The main thing is to just do it. Get it done. Now.

I would be nice if we all lived in the Big Rock Candy Mountains, where my guess is that no one has to save money to buy a house, pay for college for their kids, or invest for a comfortable retirement. However, we don’t live there, so working to achieve financial security is something we have to do for ourselves. The good news is that you are not on your own. You have me. I can help you set realistic goals, put a plan in place for working to achieve them, and then keep you on track. There’s just one thing: you’ll have to change your own socks. Call me and let’s set up a time to get together. I’M NOW ON THE RADIO! Listen for my ad on The Bridge Radio, 88.7FM Annuities are long-term investment vehicles designed primarily for retirement purposes. Gains from tax-deferred investments are taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Withdrawals made prior to age 59½ are subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax and surrender charges might apply. 3 Probability of needing LTC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information. 4 Benefits are based on the claims paying ability of the insurance company. Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. 1 2

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Krewe of Slidellians SLIDELL’S ORIGINAL MARDI GRAS BALL & PARADE By proud SWCC Sisters, Ellen Lamarque and Kendra Maness

The Slidell Women’s Civic Club, founded in 1947 by Mesdames Anita Breisacher, Blanche Carroll, Virginia Madison and Peggy Solberger, was formed to foster civic service to our then-small community of Slidell. With great growth potential because of the railroad, Slidell was just beginning to blossom from a brick manufacturing and ship building town, to a safe and green alternative community to New Orleans. As so many men returned from World War II, Slidell was filling with energetic and industrious young couples. The SWCC was incorporated as a charter organization in 1954 with the mission statement, “The Slidell Women’s Civic Club is dedicated to the purpose of fostering civic, welfare, cultural and social interest of the community.” The four founding women started selling brooms, mops and cleaning supplies door to door in Slidell’s Brugier subdivision (which was a focal point of activity and residential living), in order to raise funds to construct a park for the children of Slidell.

2016 King and Queen Samaritan, Sheriff Randy Smith and Mary Clement 24

Two of the SWCC founders, Peggy Solberger and Virginia Madison, at the 1953 Krewe of Slidellians Ball

The 2013 Bal Masque saw the return of two founding SWCC members, Blanche Carroll and Peggy Solberger. (Peggy is pictured above, 60 years earlier)

One of the is the SWC

OF PHILANTHROPY The first Krewe of Slidellians Ball took place in 1951 and followed the traditional Mardi Gras tableau with full pageantry honoring the civic leaders in the community. The “King and Queen Samaritan” were voted on by the club members, based on their community spirit and leadership, and were secret until the big reveal the night of the ball. This time honored tradition still holds true to this day. The maids and dukes in the Royal Court are also chosen based on their community involvement. The Krewe of Slidellians was the first Mardi Gras parade on the Northshore, in 1961. The parade’s primary purpose at that time was as advertisement for the ball and to add to the social and cultural dimension of the women’s organization. Family trucks, bicyclists, and local bands marched on the original parade route from Slidell High, travelling on Florida Avenue to Olde Towne, then out Carey Street, ending at Tammany Mall. The active group of vibrant women grew steadily over the years, as more families moved to Slidell with the expansion of our space industry. Today, the 90+ women of the SWCC can be seen throughout our community, doing what they’ve always done - serving others.

e highlights of every Krewe of Slidellians Ball CC Dancers, led by Mrs. Rosemary Clement. (Circa 2013)


SLIDELL WOMEN’S CIVIC CLUB CELEBRATES 70 YEARS O The 1952 Bal Masque theme was The Circus. A page from the program shows many family names that are part of Slidell history.

Krewe of Slidellians parade, 1976. The picture on the left is from the end of the parade, at Tammany Mall, where the awards for Best Float and Best Costumes were given. The original parade route started at Slidell High, travelling down Florida Ave to Olde Towne, ending at Tammany Mall on Pontchartrain. The 1976 Bal Masque theme was “The Liberty Ball” and celebrated America’s bicentennial year.

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OF PHILANTHROPY The Slidell Women’s Civic Club supports and participates in countless charitable endeavors. Each year, as the non-profit organizations of Slidell plan out their calendar of events and fundraisers, the ladies of the SWCC are called upon to provide volunteer support. In addition to this, the SWCC sisters have multiple philanthropic efforts of their own: SCHOLARSHIPS - the SWCC scholarships assist with educational costs for young women of the Slidell area in their freshman year of college. The scholarships are based on community spirit and involvement, academic ability, extracurricular activities and character. ADOPT A FAMILY - SWCC members will bring tragic or misfortune stories to the membership meetings. A family with four children whose house burned and they lost everything; a father who was laid off work, his wife was a stay-at-home mom, his teenage son was in a wheelchair, and the family has used all resources to make ends meet; Hurricane Katrina and Isaac victims who need help rebuilding their lives...all of these families, and more, are helped with compassion and privacy, by SWCC. CHRISTMAS DRIVE - each SWCC member chooses a name of a child or senior citizen with the need list for clothing and school supplies, or wish list for toys. These names are given to SWCC based on low income, free lunch, or family needs by the principals and counselors of the Slidell area schools, and by the senior citizen nursing home directors. Each member matches or exceeds funds given to fulfill the list of needs and/or wishes. CARING CENTER - SWCC members bring to the meetings bags and bags of small toiletries for the homeless and abused women at the Caring Center. SOUP KITCHEN - SWCC members buy the food, cook the food, package dinners to be delivered, serve the food and clean the kitchen at the Mount Olive Soup Kitchen on the fifth Saturday of the month. GIRL SCOUTS - SWCC has supported Girl Scouts of America since the late 1950’s. Many of the original founders were Girl Scout Leaders in the Slidell area, and some members are still scout leaders. Funds help support the annual summer camp attended by hundreds of Girl Scouts in the Slidell area. SWCC also provides meals, extra manpower and funding for Girl Scout projects throughout the year. Of course, the cookie sales are big in the club! KEEP SLIDELL BEAUTIFUL - Members participate in cleaning the streets, surrounding “green” areas and parks in the Slidell area twice a year. 27

Go Beyond by Rose Marie Sand

MARDI GRAS Okay, I’ll admit it – one year I didn’t stay home to enjoy the Mardi Gras holidays. Not to fly to a ski lodge. Not to visit wine country. Not to see any of the multitude of natural wonders in the country. We went to Disneyworld. But don’t mock me until you read the rest of the story.

more than suburban police departments could handle.

You see, back in 1979, Mardi Gras in New Orleans was cancelled. A political storm that pitted the city of New Orleans against its striking police force caused then-Mayor Ernest “Dutch” Morial and the parade organizations to cancel Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Some of the krewes did parade in the suburbs of New Orleans, including Slidell, but not the big Krewes that would require much

Most of the masked balls carried on, but we’re not the type to attend such royal events. And as disappointed as we were to miss the parades that year, I imagined how disappointed the krewe members were. Having ridden in a parade or two ourselves, we envisioned how those who’d spent so much time and money on costumes, throws and parties must have felt.

a s i L a n o M oon Pie M ® Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie



We decided to make our own party, and to take a relative’s generous request to spend the holiday at his hotel near Disneyworld. A combination of family visit and Mickey Mouse would have to satisfy my kids. Most vacation destinations have New Orleanians with beads and toss them at often unsuspecting travelers. As they gamely catch the beads, we make do with the “throw me something, mister” chant. It’s really a poor substitute, but

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we brought a little of the craziness with us. Beads for all! No Mickey hats for us. That particular year, it was warm the weekend before Mardi Gras, so we packed clothes appropriately. We just weren’t watching the weather to see that a cold snap was traveling right behind us, as the weather often does in the south. Therefore, the crazy New Orleans relatives didn’t have coats and cold weather gear to visit the happiest place on earth. (They think Disneyworld deserves that slogan – little do they know the Big Easy at Mardi Gras is usually much happier. We have the Greatest Free Show on Earth, after all.) Our relatives came through, and we borrowed coats from hotel employees! Yes, my 6’5” husband wasn’t exactly sporting sleeves long enough for his arms, but he was a trooper and our kids were warm. We blessed those employees with extra special beads. Not the obscene ones, just long beads.


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Now, crowd control in Disney isn’t what we’re used to on parade routes. No pushing and shoving to get in the front? What’s up with that? Cattle call type lines to see attractions? Really? And this works for you people? What’s the fun in that? Now, this was long before Fast Passes (you Disneyites know what I mean), so one had to carefully map the places you wanted to go. That’s not much different from figuring out places to park for Endymion or Bacchus; so at least we had a bit of strategy to employ.

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You may realize that New Orleans sends representatives of the Police Department to many cities that house large events and enormous crowds for things like the Super Bowl and music events. Mardi Gras in New Orleans brings over a million revelers to the streets annually, so our police have centuries of experience in making everything run smoothly. Businesses that manufacture crowd control supplies in Louisiana, like barriers, are the resource for all such things, too. Who we are and our culture as a city certainly leads the way – no other place in the country can match New Orleans.

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Another very unique aspect of police crowd control is the mounted unit. About 27 horses are a common sight in the French Quarter. Imposing officers on imposing horseback have a perfect line of sight to partygoers both in the streets and on balconies. They clear the streets at night, and help to stop the purse-snatchers, those using the streets to relieve themselves, and fighting - the things that plague the French Quarter during the season. By the way, 1979 wasn’t the only year Mardi Gras was cancelled, as it happened during World War II and during the Civil

War. But this was a first for modern times and we just had to take it in stride, like the St. Augustine marching band.

The city couldn’t have been more different from usual than if the Saints won the Super Bowl that year.

For my family this wasn’t an evacuationvacation, although the reasons for the trip were, perhaps, equally disturbing. National Guardsmen were called in to keep the peace during the negotiations between PANO, the Police Association of New Orleans, and the Morial administration. It was an ugly battle, complete with uniform burnings, tires slashing, roofing tacks in parking lots of department employees, and eggs thrown.

Many, many years later, men would engage in an impromptu parade dressed in woman’s clothing to honor Buddy D, and an enormous parade after the win would once again require our efficient Police Department to control crowds. And much, much happier parties were the order of the day.


But we never left the city again during Mardi Gras. Hopefully we’ll never have to. Mickey and Minnie are no substitute for the Kings and Queens of Mardi Gras.

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Sixty... plus Story and Photos by Donna Bush As most of you know, at least those who’ve been following my articles for the last 3 years, I love a good adventure. I’m a lover of exciting activities, a thrill seeker, traveler, and wildlife photographer, seeing any place I haven’t been before and several repeat visits for my most loved places. Since I was turning 60 in December of this past year, I decided it was time for a new journey. Something I haven’t done before, but something on my bucket list. Several choices popped to mind. Australia? Costa Rica? Hawaii? Northern lights - YES! However, my husband doesn’t like cold weather; so, no northern lights (at least for my birthday). I do vow to see them soon!

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So where can I go with temperatures cool enough for me, warm enough for my husband, and still be adventurous? After a tip from a friend’s daughter, I decided on a drive along a section of the Pacific Coast Highway. Of course, we couldn’t drive the whole thing; but we could pick a do-able amount in a decent amount of time so that we wouldn’t be rushing. Eric first said, “Let’s just wing it. We don’t need to plan.” You’d think after 10 years of marriage, he would know me better. OF COURSE I’m going to plan. OF COURSE I’m going to know where we are staying each night and some idea of what we are going to do at each location. I can be a little flexible and not have it pinned down to the hour or even the specific day. But I’ve got to have some stuff planned! I came back from Puerto Rico only days before Thanksgiving; then there was shopping for Christmas before we left for our drive, which started mid-December. Somehow I managed to plan parts of

our trip during the holidays. I always scour over Trip Advisor reviews before traveling anywhere, so I rebooked our first lodging three times! I planned a few of our days - stops, hikes, sightseeing - but not every detail, as I usually like to do. So, this was an adjustment for me to learn to roll with it, and be a little more flexible and footloose. We flew to LAX at o-dark-thirty, grabbed our rental car, found the route to CA-1, the Pacific Coast Highway, and headed north. Our first two nights lodging would be in Avila Beach at the Avila Village Inn. Think of a plush comfy room, equally plush comfy bathrobes, gas fireplace, and private hot tub on our private balcony surrounded by secluded wooded views. Ahhhh! The perfect place to come home after a long day of driving, bike riding or hiking. We stopped for a delightful lunch at Vintner’s Grocery, then on to Gaviota Wind Caves for a challenging hike. The first half-mile was easy on an old

roadbed; then we began the climb, almost straight up, no switchbacks to make it easy. Despite resuming step classes, my calves weren’t ready for this. Yep! I found them all - calves, hamstrings, that nasty sprained ankle from back in February! Oh, and the knees and toes jammed on the way down. But the caves were amazing and worth the huffing and puffing. They were formed as the ocean sea spray was consistently blown on to the cliffs, leaving behind salt crystals on the sandstone. The salt crystals grow and expand, putting pressure on the grains of sand, which eventually pop out leaving an exposed area. The self-perpetuating process continues, allowing more space for more sea spray to collect and push more sand grains out exposing larger and larger holes. They can appear as a small honeycomb effect or larger, as a cave big enough for adults to stand upright. It was easy to get turned around on the trails as there were a lot of cross trails, but everyone was super helpful. We began our descent with jammed toes and aching knees to head to Solvang, a small Danish community founded in 1911. It is ripe with authentic architecture, thatched roofs, and old-world craftsmanship, boasting five windmills and a sculpture of the Little Mermaid. It was every bit as small as the one in Copenhagen! It was a quaint and interesting town, worth the stop. We arrived at our first lodging after dark so we had no idea how beautiful it was till the next morning. Exhausted from an

early morning flight, a long strenuous hike and lots of driving, we ordered delivery salads and collapsed. Up for breakfast and a little local knowledge from the reception desk, we decided to scope out Paradise Cove, a potential sunset spot and close by. Then we booked a Tiki boat cruise for Morro Bay. Our lodge offered bicycles, complimentary for the first 2 hours. We wanted to do this but ran out of time. There are bike paths that lead to the beach for shopping, dining and sightseeing.

eclectic and unique, not for everyone, but obviously for many. The dining room, the steak house, everything was extremely PINK. (Google it, you’ll see.) I’m not that fond of pink. You can request a specific room as they are each unique - some with rock waterfall showers, rock floors, some with balconies, one named after the 30’s Al Capp comic strip, Daisy Mae! In the steak house restaurant, the men’s restroom has a waterfall urinal. Eric went in first to make sure it was empty, and then I went in to see it! LOL!

After determining where we needed to be for sunset, we took off for Morro Beach, stopping to look at the famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo along the way. I needed to know if I should regret not staying there. No, I shouldn’t. It is very

Moving on, we found our Tiki boat launch and headed next door to Rosa’s for a lunch of crab quesadilla. Yum! The tour was great with our barefoot captain, Thomas. We learned about Morro Rock, a State Historic Landmark, which looms





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576 feet above the bay. It was formed over 23 million years ago from the plugs of extinct volcanoes. For years it served as a navigational aid to mariners due to its size. Portuguese explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, named it “El Morro,” which means ‘crown’ in Spanish. It was mined off and on until 1963 with the material used to build jetties around Morro Bay, Port San Luis Harbor and even as far north at Monterey. Numerous sea otters entertained us as we learned that they are off the endangered species list and only listed as threatened. It is still illegal to get within 50 yards or to harass them. Harassment could cause them to abandon their young, which would ultimately die. The California sea lions were extremely vocal as we cruised by their haul-out, hanging out in their large group called a colony or a pod. They can swim up to 25 mph and run faster than a human! Who knew? Ready for a beautiful sunset, we head out to Paradise Cove, glad that we had scoped it out earlier. Definitely a popular place for sunset views. You can shoot through the cave, silhouettes of other viewers or just the gorgeous colors of the sky and the water as the sun sinks below the horizon. We hiked out in the dark with a headlamp between us to find dinner. Next day, we moved to our next lodging in Monterey with stops at Nitt Witt Ridge and The Hearst Castle, opposite ends of the spectrum in housing. Nitt Witt was built by Arthur “Art” Harold Beal, aka “Der Tinkerpaw” as he constructed the place mostly by hand, or “Captain Nitt Witt,” as some of the locals called him. The structure is made up of a hodge-podge collection of trash, toilets, old stoves, pots, beer cans, rocks, abalone shells etc. Beal was probably the pioneer of recycling as he re-tooled every scrap of everything he found. He had picture frames hanging on his walls made from toilet seats! There’s a beer can-lined walkway, a fountain made by staggering a couple of vanity sinks into a bathtub and even a hisand-her outhouse! Looking at the place is like trying to find the hidden pictures in a puzzle from a kid’s magazine. He started in 1928 and continued for the next 50+ years carving out his own “castle on a hill” with a pickaxe and a shovel. Being a local garbage

FIND A LARGE SELECTION OF FURNITURE, COLLECTIBLES, VINTAGE CLOTHING, ART, & MORE! collector, it was easy for him to acquire “building materials”, for what became a California Historical Landmark in 1981. Rumor has it that he worked for a time on the Hearst Castle and that there are a few remnants scattered about Nitt Witt. Eight miles north on CA-1 brings us to San Simeon and The Hearst Castle, another California Historical Landmark, designed by Julia Morgan, the first woman admitted to the architecture program at the prestigious National School of Fine Arts in Paris, France and the first woman architect licensed in California. She was hired by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst to design and build “La Cuesta Encantada” (The Enchanted Hill), more commonly known as “the ranch” between 1919 and 1947. Yes! It took that long! It’s huge and particularly full of specialized materials from all over the world built at an altitude of 1600 feet commanding impressive views from atop the Santa Lucia Range. The property was originally acquired by Hearst’s father, George, in 1865 and was used over the years for many family camping trips. When William inherited the property, it totaled 250,000 acres, a modest parcel. Initially planning to build a small bungalow so he, family and friends could visit without camping in tents, the size quickly grew to grand proportions featuring 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield, and the world’s largest private zoo. Today, descendants of the original zebras still roam the grounds along with Hearst cattle. There are 3 guesthouses on the property – Casa del Mar (House of the Sea), Casa del Monte (House of the Mountains) and Casa del Sol (House of the Sun). Many of the Hollywood and political elite often visited the Hearst Castle, arriving by Hearst’s private airplane or his train from Los Angeles. Among the notable were Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill. Guests were expected to attend a formal dinner party each evening but were left to entertain themselves throughout the


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day. There was no shortage of activities – the estate theater showcased films from Hearst’s movie studio, tennis, horseback riding, swimming, numerous board games and billiards. Finishing our tour, we headed toward San Simeon to see the northern elephant seals, appropriately named because of the adult male’s large nose that is shaped like an elephant trunk. They can grow to over 13 feet and 4500 pounds. The females are smaller at 10 feet and 1500 pounds. They lay in piles on top of each other or next to each other along the beach and rocky shore, occasionally

taking a dip in the ocean, but mostly enjoying their sunbath. Today, they are a conservation success story; but, at one time, there were less than 100 in existence, hunted almost to the point of extinction for their blubber, used as lamp oil. Today their population is close to 150,000 and 124,000 of those are in California waters. It was another late night arrival at our lodging in Monterey, a beautiful place on Cannery Row with wonderful views of Monterey Bay where we could open the windows and listen to the surf crashing on the beach below, the calls of the gulls and the sea lions. Magical.

Off to another full day, driving south on CA-1 to the famous Big Sur area. Starting with a steep hike down a treelined canyon to a rocky beach and through a tunnel to Partington Cove. We were totally socked in with rain, to the point that my ‘helly tech’ raincoat was soaked through! Well, it is probably about 20-years old, maybe it’s time to think about replacing it. We grabbed some lunch at the Big Sur River Inn. Unfortunately, it was not a good day to sit by the river and enjoy the trickle, as it was a bit more of a rushing river than a babbling brook. Today’s highlight was our 3-hour tour of Point Sur Lighthouse,

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built in 1889 and currently in use today. Although, operation today is totally automated, not like it was from 1889 through 1974. The lighthouse is 40 feet tall and 270 feet above sea level. Over the course of its life, this lighthouse has had multiple light sources: first, an oil wick lamp; second, an oil vapor lamp powered by whale oil, lard oil or kerosene; and now, electric lights with all sources seen through a Fresnel lens. The tour officially begins with a leisurely half-mile walk uphill to the lighthouse, with a 360-foot elevation gain. Ours might have been a bit brisker due to the 25-knot wind blowing cold air at us! Spoiler alert: Lighthouses are built on a point where it is normally windy for a reason – the wind and waves can easily push ships up and onto the rocks. The lighthouse’s purpose is to alert sailors to the danger before it is too late. Along the way, we had magnificent views of the beach. After our brisk walk, we were able to climb the tower to the lighthouse catwalk and more spectacular views. Then we were able to tour the

various structures of the lighthouse, including the blacksmith/carpenter shop, lighthouse keeper’s house and museum/gift store. The blacksmith shop was integral to the function and success of the lighthouse. The keeper resided in isolation along with their family in this remote location for many years. The CA-1 Highway didn’t exist. The keepers were responsible for all repairs and maintenance of the lighthouse and surrounding buildings, hence the need for a blacksmith/carpenter shop. They also cared for a small garden and livestock. A live-in teacher schooled the keeper’s children. Even though there were numerous shipwrecks over the years, probably the most famous was the USS Macon, a helium-filled 785-foot dirigible that went down in a 1935 squall just off the coast. The airship housed four biplanes used for reconnaissance, making it an airborne aircraft carrier. The biplanes were launched and recovered using a trapeze-like mechanism. All but two of the 83 on board were rescued.

I had chosen McWay Falls in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park as our destination sunset for the day. As beautiful as the falls were, the socked in skies didn’t make the sunset I had hoped for. The walk to the falls was short, easy and crowded despite the lateness and brisk wind with rain. The wind and rain of the day certainly had the feel of a winter storm. We drove back up the coast to our lodge and dinner. The next day would be our last in Monterey and we already had our plans laid out. More excitement and adventure await. Would the adventure be more than we had bargained for? Stay tuned for a future issue to see what happens next.

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Crimi-Mommly INSANE slie GatesGovern e L y b y r c Sto by Zac M ns


V-DAY Love is in the air! For some, it will smell like roses and chocolates, others may feel the strong need to don a gas mask and run for shelter. Either way, we ALL have a date for Valentine’s Day, and it’s February 14th. There’s just no avoiding it. Whether you are single, dating, married, divorced for the 3rd time, or in a completely happy relationship with your dog, everyone can find a way to celebrate love. Brian and I are about to spend our 15th V-Day together. Hard to believe. We met one night back in June 2001 when my friend, Meredeth, MADE ME go to New Orleans with her for some drinks and dancing. I was 23 years old, and it usually wasn’t hard to get me out for a fun night, but I had recently divorced and was slightly bitter. I wasn’t in the mood for that kind of atmosphere. Being friends since 4th grade, she knew me very well, and knew that a night of dancing was the best way to get me out of my funk. I LOVE TO DANCE. 38

Or D-DAY ? Reluctantly, I gave into the doctor’s orders and hopped in the truck, not even dressed to impress. I pouted the whole way, to be honest. We ended up in the French Quarter, as you do, and went into a few places before stopping in the Bourbon Street bar, Tropical Isle. It’s not much of a dancing place, which worked, because I still didn’t feel like dancing. Meredeth was active duty Army at the time, and had just left the 82nd Airborne division with orders to be stationed in Slidell, of all places, as a Recruiter. I had recently completed my 4 years of service and just back home, in the middle of nursing school. The military was the topic of conversation at our two-woman, badass female Paratrooper table, being all that Meredeth and I really knew since the age of 17. We spoke loudly over the music, trying to hear each others’ stories, while sipping on our “Hand Grenades”, a very fitting drink for the night.

At the table next to us was a man sitting by himself, watching a basketball game on a TV above our heads. I didn’t know this yet, because my back was to him, but it was just a matter of time before I did. Meredeth leaned into me and whispered (loudly), “That guy keeps looking over at our table and listening to our conversation.” I was NOT in the mood for a man’s BS, or any cheesy pick-up lines at this point in my life, nor was I looking to impress anyone. With all the negative thoughts stirring inside of me, I took it upon myself to whip my chair around, see who this rude person was, and ask why he was all up in our BID-NIS. “Are you interested in what we have to say?” I asked him in my sarcastic way. He was immediately embarrassed and tried looking back at the TV, but my resting bitch face was still staring at him, waiting for an answer. I said

something else that I can’t quite remember, and that he couldn’t quite hear, so I decided to get up from my table and sit at his so he could hear me better. Having an innate ability to read people very well, I could tell quickly that he wasn’t one of “those guys”, and I started to feel kind of bad. In my defense, though, I had just spent years as a petite, blonde hair/ blue eyed female trying to measure up in a Man’s Army, so I was always expecting the worst out of a guy’s mouth. Let’s just say, I was jaded at 23 years old, for several reasons, and was more comfortable functioning in defense mode. Moving on. As we began to talk, I learned that he was currently in the Army, which was why he was listening in, and was on leave to visit his friend, Bob, at Fort Polk, hours away. It was his last night in Louisiana before heading back to where he was stationed in

Missouri. He made a last-minute decision to see New Orleans, and experience Bourbon Street before his flight out in morning. At this point, I was still just trying to stir up conversation and act like I gave a rat’s ass. We talked for a little longer, then I started bringing it to a close so I could get back over to my table. As I was about to get up, I said something witty-ish, in my typical way, assuming it was over his head…yet, to my surprise, he proved me wrong and was quick to answer. He “got me”, which was cool, and then, it happened… HE SMILED AT ME. With his crooked mouth grin and cute dimples, yes, but also with HIS EYES. Something I had never seen before, and if I had, I certainly didn’t remember. They were very sincere eyes, and intelligent, yet, with a certain need behind them. He managed to keep them off my boobs too, also a bonus.

I looked back at him and said, “Wow, your smile.” Meredeth, seeing my happiness with this stranger, figured out quickly that she needed to get up and come to the table with us. After another hour or so of conversation, I asked him, well, told him, that he was dancing with me. I grabbed his hand, and took him from one dance floor to the next. We danced until 3am, glued to one another, unable to see anyone or anything else around us. It’s ok, Meredeth was having fun too. Somewhere out there on the dance floor. As that amazing night ended, the reality set in that he had to go. Trying not to appear bothered by it, or desperate in any way, I put on my tough demeaner, which I had mastered by now. But I wondered to myself, “Is this it for us?” My friend seemed to think so. She was ready to go.


I smiled and thanked him for a wonderful evening, slowly turning away from him. Forever. “Can I get your number?” he asked. I paused and smiled, then turned back around. “Sure.” So, I gave him my number and a kiss he would never forget. Then I left. Back to our own homes. In our different states. Living our different lives. And we never saw each other again. Then, I met Brian. Kidding. Seven months later, through many long-distance phone conversations and short weekend visits in Memphis, he flew to New Orleans to see me. THIS was our first Valentine’s Day together. We went back to Tropical Isle, where it all began, and on the stage, over the microphone… He proposed to me. Most people were drunk, I think one of them clapped and yelled “WHODAT” or something, but it didn’t matter, because it was JUST US. In


our little bubble of happiness, about to start a life together. Brian and I have had good AND bad Valentines since then. I mean, who are we kidding… 15 years is a lot of years to put up with ANYONE, especially me. But we are still here, changing and growing, individually and as a couple… for ourselves, each other, and our kids. Whatever your situation is this Valentines, I hope you can find the love around you, in whatever form it comes. Maybe it’s a new, exciting love, where everything around you seems to disappear… or a friend’s love, that wants nothing more than to pull you out of yourself, just to see you happy. It could be found in your fur baby, that will always love you unconditionally… your children… or even by yourself, finding the strength to love who you are at this stage in life, without any other validation. Perhaps it’s a young, hectic marriage with small children, where it feels like you have TOO MUCH love, yet somehow, not enough to go around.

Or a marriage of 50 years, spent in a nursing home for the first time, as the love of family comes together more than ever. After 15 years, Brian is still staring at that basketball game on the TV (or any game for that matter), just like the night we met. And I am still that strong willed bitch in need of an emotional connection and a good night of dancing. I may not be able to pull his attention away from the game like I could in the beginning, but if I really needed to, I DO know how. On the dance floor. In our bubble. Because he KNOWS these hips don’t lie! AND, I get to see that smile. Go find your love on the 14th, wherever it may be, and in whatever form it presents itself. Might not be as far away as you think. It could be a love you’ve always known, sitting next to you on the couch, or an unexpected one, sitting next to you at your table. I do know now, that if we choose to smell the roses instead of donning that mask we carry, the love will be seen much clearer.

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CREMATION Valentine’s Day is coming soon. Then Mardi Gras, at the end of February. Spring will be just around the corner after that (did you miss Winter? It was 3 days last month). In anticipation of all this imminent celebration and optimism, I thought, what better subject to address than after-care for deceased pets! Clients ask lots of questions about pet burial and cremation, usually at the time when it’s needed, which is always a time full of stress and emotion. They want to know their options for body care. They want to know whether they’ll receive the correct ashes back if they opt for cremation. They wonder about the differences between group / communal cremations, and pricier private cremations. And are the premium services offered by some crematories worth the expense?

The vast majority of pet-cremation services are terrific. The very few bad apples usually don’t stay in business. Bad business practices and fraud almost always become public, and there is too much downside to being sub-par in this industry for people to risk it. Fortunately for us in St Tammany, we have Unforgettable Pets, a locally owned, certified pet cremation service. I’ve used their services for over 10 years, and have never had a reason for complaint. Their facility and equipment are state-of-the-art. They work with veterinarians and with the public at large. I recommend them without reservation. Avoid any cremation services that do not allow any public visits, or do not offer witnessed

cremation services, but don’t expect to simply pop in. A cremation service might want to schedule visitations because there will be times when staff are out doing retrievals, or are in the midst of working, perhaps with a veterinarian who’s euthanizing a large dog for cremation, or with another client on a witnessed cremation. Most facilities do not want the public touring while they are actively placing bodies in a cremation unit. Like human funeral homes, it is a business that requires some privacy and discretion, and for good reasons. There are three general types of cremation services offered for pets: communal or group; separate; and private. *Communal or group cremation is for clients who do not want their pet’s ashes returned but

Dr. Jeff recommends using:



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do not want the pet’s body to go into a landfill. Communal cremation means that a few to several animal bodies are placed in a cremation unit at one time, and cremated together. The ash is then removed and disposed of. In the case of Unforgettable Pets, these remains are mixed with topsoil and scattered on some private wooded land in Mississippi. Other services can let you know what they do with communal ash. If a pet owner is very concerned about communal ash disposal, they would be best advised to have a cremation with ashes returned, so they can control what happens to the ashes.



*Separate cremation is one type of cremation for owners who want ashes returned. Depending on the design and size of the unit, a number of pets can be placed in the unit and the cremation cycle run without the ashes co-mingling. Unforgettable Pets, in the interest of keeping things simple and clear, doesn’t offer this option. Their cremations are either communal, with the ashes scattered as mentioned above, or fully private as detailed below *Private cremation involves one pet in the chamber at a time, and the ashes are returned. It is usually considerably more expensive than a separate cremation. Owners who choose private cremation often do so for emotional reasons, and there is even an option for a cremation to be witnessed by the pet owner, although this does incur extra fees. Do your homework. Ask your cremation service the questions you want answered. The ability to provide owners with accurate information is a sign of a good, ethical operation. Does your cremation service return orthopedic implants in with the cremains? Some will, and some do not. Ashes have to be processed (ground up) before they’re returned and steel or titanium implants must be removed and placed back in with the ashes. If you use a service that does not return a bone plate, the owner might worry that there was a problem because no bone plate was found in the cremains. So let them know up front. Ashes will typically be in a baggie, inside a box or urn. If they can be examined, sets of ashes from similar animals won’t necessarily be identical. Some will be processed less and, therefore, appear to be more coarse. Some will be darker, and some may be off-color, usually due to pet food dyes in fecal matter or dyes used in a blanket the pet was wrapped in. Most returned ashes should be off-white to light gray. The amount of ash expected for a particular pet can lead to concern and questions. Cremains only represent bone ash. Soft tissue leaves no ash when properly cremated. A 55-pound Greyhound may have far more ash than a very fat 60-pound Cocker Spaniel. Older pets, particularly those with chronic renal failure, frequently will have much less ash than expected for their size. A 10-pound cat frequently will have more cremains than a 10-pound Chihuahua.

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These are not pleasant subjects to discuss, and there are many more questions than those addressed here. But death-care matters. Your veterinarian and your cremation provider should be able to address all your concerns, so that no additional stress is added at an already stressful time.


Gina Triay 43

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Grand 2016 Parade of Slidellians ord, meteorologist at e w re K he T ’s xandra C ranf idell Women Marshall, Aletes the ladies of the Sl t si vi vi in set for a WWL-T V, C ivic C lub on

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Whew! What a haul... Double M Feed’s owner, Car melo Chirico, loads up the weekly food supplies for Kendra’s 8 dogs and goat!

SO PROUD! The Habitat Rosie campaign was recognized as Community Involvement Non Profit of the Year at the Chamber Awards Ceremony. l-r: Paul Wood, Kelly Rabalais, Senator Sharo n Hewitt, Debbie Crouch, Kendra, Kentrell Jones, Glenda Drennan, Adele Smith and Julie Wood.

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Dr. Brian Kindl



Slidell Magazine - 79th Edition  
Slidell Magazine - 79th Edition