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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF SLIDELL

Vol. 90 January 2018

WE KEEP IT FRESH

SAY KEEP IT POSITIVE


New Year, New You!

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Editor’s Letter HAPPY NEW YEAR! HELLLLOOOOO 2018! And welcome to my life party! That’s the way I look at the beginning of a new year. I’m loving every moment of life and when the “newbie” comes along, I feel like it’s the proper thing to welcome it in and show it the ropes! I have a mental image of me, sitting on the edge of my bed, with Baby New Year and his cute little droopy diaper sitting on the floor. He is looking up at me with the wide-eyed innocence of a child. He’s full of wonder and curiosity; he’s thirsting for knowledge, craving attention and seeking guidance. My Baby New Year is completely dependent and he has high expectations; he holds me to a

Kendra Maness

Editor/Publisher Slidell Magazine

Cover Artist higher standard than others do because he relies on me to do the right thing all year long. His quality of life, and even his very survival, are my responsibility. You see where I’m going? I’m not trying to get preachy or any nonsense like that, but I think too many of us look at the New Year in a backwards way. I hear the phrase, “I hope the next year is better than this one,” ALL THE TIME and it bothers me. That starts off a new year on pretty shaky ground, don’t you think? If the value or prosperity of your New Year is depending on something other than your own will and determination, you’re already behind in the race. I hope more of us realize that we parent our New Years baby, not the other way around. In so many ways, we control our fates in the year ahead. At the very least, we control our attitudes. The chime of the clock at midnight doesn’t offer or fulfill any promises other than the fact that you have an opportunity to create your next moment’s destiny.

mandie manzano Mandie Manzano’s artwork is known throughout the world in an instant. She has developed a style all on her own that is inspired by bold colors and the effect that light has on them. Mandie studied at SELU for Visual Arts and decided that Illustration was her passion. She is currently pursuing a concentration in Illustration and works as professional Artist and teacher. She has licensed her work to many companies around the world and enjoys spreading the creative bug every chance she gets. You can usually find her painting her next idea or pretending to be a Jedi while standing near automatic doors... either way, you will meet an artsy goofball! “I paint my images to emulate the vibrancy and glow of a stained-glass window. I believe that sharing our light is the most important thing we can do in inspiring and loving others, and like a stained-glass window, our full brilliance is revealed only by having that light shine through.” This is the second Slidell Magazine cover for Mandie and we LOVE her work! We look forward to many more M2 covers!

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JANUARY 2018

Extraordinarily Fascinating “Ordinary” People

Magen Elisabeth Brown by Charlotte Lowry Collins

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. “Invictus” by William E. Henley

Another New Year, another new resolution. After decades of resolutions, we should all be much improved. Oh, I know, not all of our resolves stuck, but we certainly must be wiser and stronger because of them … or perhaps in spite of them. There are those individuals that are much more strong willed. Magen Brown is one of those individuals. She makes promises to herself, and keeps them, then charges ahead to start preparing for her next challenge. If we allow ourselves time to look back over the years, I think we can see the circuitous paths that led us to where we are now. Rarely is that path a straight one. For Magen, her path has twisted and turned, then suddenly opened into a wide expanse, stretching farther than even she could foresee. I had never met Magen, not heard of her tribulations, or of her accomplishments. But my editor, Kendra, had given me an overview of a strong young lady, a fellow cancer “conqueror,” a body builder, a born again Christian, and a canvas with symbolic tattoos. Somehow, I couldn’t put all of these images together into one picture in my mind. Sitting at a table outside of KY’s Restaurant (whose owner, Kevin Young, was also a recent EFOP), I tried to guess what Magen may look like. Up walks a petite young woman, my height (five feet tall), with dark chocolate “doe” eyes and a cute, little, elfish nose. She was carrying a gallon jug of water, with hours marked off for hourly consumption from 7AM to 10PM. Immediately, she exuded a sense of bright energy. With little time for small talk, 6

Magen began piecing together the paths she has been down, with an openness and passion that I wasn’t expecting. Nothing about this EFOP is expected. Magen is her own person, full of dichotomies that she fully embraces. Magen’s journey began in New Orleans, where she was born. However, she grew up in “The Parish” (St. Bernard) until Hurricane Katrina decimated her community. Her childhood was good, but it wasn’t a typical upbringing. She was raised by her aunt and grandparents, and considers her grandparent’s home her childhood home. Perhaps this is part of what made Magen such a self-sufficient individual. She relayed that, at only 15 years old, she moved out and started a new life with her boyfriend at the time. She pointed at herself and admitted unabashedly, “I used to be wild. At that time, I was into drugs and drinking. Not a good direction. My best friend, Brittany, did all that along with me, until she got caught. As part of her punishment, her mom made her go to church. My friend begged me to go with her to World Prayer Tabernacle in Chalmette. I joked that they probably bit the heads off chickens. But Brittany won when she challenged that I was the chicken. That never settles well with me. So, I went,” she shrugged. “Now, I was raised Catholic, so this stuff was all new to me. When the Pastor asked, ‘Who wants to meet Jesus,’ I raised my hand, thinking everybody else did too." Magen’s eyebrows went up and she laughed, “I like to say I got tricked into getting saved. I tried to act confident, but all the while, I promised myself, ‘I ain’t drinking their Kool-Aid.’”


This was Magen's first encounter with the youth group Brittany had been attending. She settled in her chair and continued, “They were playing loud rock music. This was nothing like Catholicism. But one of the youth leaders took me aside and just talked to me. I wasn’t prepared for that either. He explained how Jesus feels about us, and told me, ‘God loves you despite anything you did.’ I just broke down and cried. I suddenly realized how badly I needed to hear that. I was, and still am, a work in progress.” She grabbed that gallon of water, and I saw that she was behind on her water intake. We talked so much, that there was little time for eating and drinking. “My old friends tried to dissuade me from my new values, saying drinking is really no big deal. I told them about the things I was reading in the Bible and you should have seen their faces! They asked me to stop. My response to them was, “I love y’all more than family, but this is where I need to be with my life right now. Either ya’ll come with me or I can’t be around you anymore. I really hope you can support me, but I’m just not strong enough to handle all this with you, and stick with my resolve. It was amazing, some of them started attending the church with me.”

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“After a year or so, Brittany and the friends I had invited quit coming to church. After my friends left, I didn’t get invited to many church activities anymore.” Once again, Magen felt like she had no friends, and knew that could make her go back to her old ways. “It was a low point, for sure.” She collected herself before she looked straight at me, adding, “But certainly not the lowest.” Then Magen waved her hand, smiled with a gleam, and said, “So, I crashed a couple of church parties, saying, ‘I am sorry, and I know you guys don’t like me, but I have to make it through this, and I need friends right now.’” It was at one of these church gatherings that Magen met her former husband, Joel. Once Katrina came and they lost their Chalmette homes, she and Joel became youth pastors in Picayune. She became very animated as she described, “We were raising money to feed kids in Africa, and Mexico, wherever there was a need for missionaries. I helped recreate their living conditions with no budget. That forces you to be creative. We made lean-to’s with cardboard. Let me tell ya’, we would decorate the sanctuary, and it was awesome, like a ‘little Haiti.’ We held fasting lock-ins, and created games to simulate life for those in need in other countries, to teach empathy. And 100 percent of the proceeds went to feeding kids in third world countries! We also did community service projects in daycares, nursing homes, and we cleaned community parks. That was really cool, and I did it every year. I just hope the kids got something out of it.”

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Magen threw herself into this new phase of her life with the energy and passion that is so much a part of her. With the young couple both working fulltime and volunteering nightly at the church, they began to slowly drift apart. In a very short period of time, Magen’s life would take some dramatic and devastating turns. She lost her grandfather, then her beloved Aunt Stacy, both of whom raised her. Magen and Joel decided it would be best to move back to Magen's childhood home in Chalmette so her Maw Maw would not be alone. “It was really good for me to be with family,” Magen said emotionally. With no prelude, Magen stated, “When I found the lump in my breast, I thought it was a muscle from working out.” The doctor thought it was a benign mass but recommended surgery to have the mass removed and tested, just to be sure. “I told the surgeon we could tentatively schedule surgery, but I was trying to get pregnant, so I may have to cancel. Somehow, I just knew I was pregnant.” A pregnancy test confirmed the wonderful news; Magen cancelled her surgery, and visited her OBGYN instead. “Dr. Landry discovered that my hormone levels were low, and the baby was not growing very fast. They tried progesterone, but didn’t see a big difference in the levels. Finally, he called me in to say my hormone levels were “0”, and that I had miscarried. It was heart breaking. One of the hardest calls I made was to reschedule my surgery. I am not one to question God, but I couldn’t understand why God would take my baby. I had to come to terms that he had plans for me.” With this resolve, Magen went through the first surgery she had ever had. Within days, the doctor called with the bad news – cancer. He went on to tell Magen that this particular kind of cancer is really aggressive, and they now would have to do major surgery and intense chemo.

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At 28 years old, Magen prepared herself to deal with the next journey – breast cancer. “I’m a logical person, and wanted the numbers and facts to weigh my options. My focus was the highest percentage of survival with lowest possibility of recurrence.” She grabbed her chest


and proclaimed, “I’m not emotionally attached to my breasts, but I am to my life. I wanted them to take it all. Why would I take a chance?” Magen agreed to have a bilateral mastectomy and chemotherapy. Looking more like her old self now, Magen announced, “Once I started losing hair, I just decided to shave my head before the medicine had control. I wanted to have the control. You lose your eyelashes too. I never wore a wig or a beanie. Why be ashamed?” she asked rhetorically. Magen smiled and related, “The best reactions came from kids. I remember walking past one little girl. She stopped, backed up, dropped her jaw, and started rubbing her own head. I joked, ‘I ate turkey, and that made it fall out.’” Magen threw herself into the role of Cancer Conqueror and became an example of strength and determination. She jumped at the opportunity to participate in her first “Color Run.” The Color Run is known as “The Happiest 5k on the Planet.” It is a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness, and individuality where runners are doused with paint and paint powder at each kilometer. “I put a temporary tattoo on the back of my head. It was awesome! It made me feel alive.” Magen reminded me that good things can come from bad situations. “My mom and I got closer through all of this too. She came to every chemotherapy. They were good times here and there. I had a great job in Slidell and my boss, Ron Newson, was awesome. He never docked my pay for those days off. I loved Slidell more, multiplied times a million, after the cancer, because people I didn’t even know held fundraisers for me. It truly restored my faith in humanity. I still see people I don’t even know wearing t-shirts with my name on them.” “After chemo and surgery, I had 32 treatments of radiation. Then, I got to ring the bell, a sign my treatments were done, and started growing my hair back. I looked like Friar Tuck, because it started growing first from my neck.” And she laughed contagiously. The changes in Magen’s life were happening faster than she ever imagined, including the end of her marriage. “I worried I couldn’t make it financially, plus I felt physically maimed, and didn’t think anyone else could be attracted to me. My pastor and his wife explained that none of those are reasons to stay in the marriage.”

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Volunteerism is a way of life for Magen. In addition to her church work, she volunteers with Keep Slidell Beautiful and Mt. Olive Feeding Ministry through the Slidell Women's Civic Club; she helps build Habitat homes through Emerging Young Professionals; and she is a new member to Junior Auxiliary of Slidell -just to name a few!

It was after her divorce, when she was getting a tattoo in memory of her Aunt Stacy, that Magen met the talented tattoo artist, James Laing. “I had always been active in the past, with dance classes and the gym. James was also active in the gym. We became friends.” Soon, love blossomed. Through her dance classes, she was introduced to body building competitions, even though she thought she could never qualify, being only 5 feet tall, and with obvious tattoos. But times had changed, she was told, and Magen began the arduous diet and exercise regimen required to be a true show body builder. Making her journey all the more challenging was her commitment to being a vegetarian, even though protein is the key to building muscle. But Magen refused to abandon her principals, or give up on the new goals she had set for herself. The categories in body building competition go from Bikini (the leanest), to Figure

(more muscle), and then to Physique (required cuts in your muscles). She looked thoughtful, and mused, “I always thought I was big, but the girls all said ‘do Bikini.’ It didn’t sit well because Bikini competitions require a sassy routine, more like a beauty pageant. The other two are about strength, posing without acting, and judging on the body, not your attitude. They said I had a cute face,” and she wrinkled her nose distastefully. No matter what her preference was, Magen simply didn’t have the muscles she needed to perform at a higher level.

working hard. You can be the best one day, and the next day the judge likes a different style of hair. I learned I have to be the best I can be, not please the judges. So this was a National qualifier. The top five winners could compete in Nationals. I ended up in third place, and qualified for Nationals in both my height class and in the Novice class. You can ask the judges for critiques afterward. The judge said I was too big, and didn’t look like I was having a good time in Bikini class. I said, ‘Thank you, I’ve been waiting for someone to tell me that!’”

“I ended up starting in Bikini at the Slidell Auditorium. I didn’t even place after dieting and working out for so long. I got depressed because I was eating no carbs, just salad and eggs.” Magen regrouped and doubled her efforts. “My third competition was in Metairie. It was so cool because I walked in there, and everyone was complimenting me on how much bigger I had gotten, especially my shoulders. When you are competing, you make a lot of friends. Everyone is

Magen started going to workshops on body building, and discovered there was another category that other states offered, Fitness. It wasn’t available in Louisiana. She explained, “You pose as in Figure, but also do two-minute routines (hold, straddle, high kick, side split, and pushup variations). I was convinced I could do it from my dance background. They finally said they would open the category in Louisiana if anyone wanted to try. I immediately said, ‘I do.’”

Magen and Editor Kendra Maness met after Magen wrote in to Slidell Magazine thanking Kendra for publishing her own cancer story. Magen was inspired by the term "Cancer Conqueror," as Kendra calls herself. The two have remained close friends and continue to inspire each other. 10 Left: Team Magen fundraiser, 2014. Right: Pinking the Fountain, 2017

Left: With Maw-Maw. Right: Magen and fellow Conquerors at YOU Night


On the date of the competition, Magen was the only one in the Fitness category. They made her feel proud for bringing this category to Louisiana. It was a major accomplishment. After the performance, “I was upset at first. I felt like I won the state championship by default. But I was the only one with the guts to try, so I got a little proud.” Magen’s next goal is to compete in the Physique category. Magen let loose her million dollar smile. Thinking, she added, “I still want to defend my title in Fitness, but I don’t know. I can do both. Think of the challenge, no meat, no steroids.” As I’m sure you can tell by now, Magen doesn’t shy away from a challenge! Magen views the world with wisdom far beyond her years, but has a child-like wonder when speaking of her many blessings. “Who knows where I may end up, but I love living here. Slidell is very cultural, and involved in the arts, plus there’s so much less crime. We are very big into supporting each other, and our local businesses. People are

so giving and kind, more than other places I’ve lived. Keep Slidell Beautiful is an example of a great grassroots organization.” Looking up, she announced, “I just got asked to be in the Queen’s Krewe in Mona Lisa and MoonPie and I’m really excited. This will be my first time!” Magen is an active member (and the youngest) in the Slidell Women’s Civic Club, where some of her volunteer efforts are to deliver meals for Mt. Olive Feeding Ministry on her lunch hour, and run the food kitchen once a month. She also recently joined the Junior Auxiliary. “I just want to give back what Slidell did for me at my low point. This community has done so much for me. Even my own childhood community didn’t go that far. I want to pay it forward as much as possible.” Magen beat all odds, and exceeded everything she set out to accomplish. So, dear readers, all I can say is, mind over matter. Damn the odds, don’t listen to the nay-sayers, and never forget your dream. Let’s make Slidell an even greater community in 2018!

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Storyteller BLOOD BROTHERS It was called a river, the Bogue Chitto River; but in fact, it was just a creek. For the two boys, it was their river, and they held it in such high regard you would think it had some mystical power. Maybe it did, for them. They fished, they camped, and they swam there. Each lived about a mile from the river, but in opposite directions. It was as if this small body of water was the dividing line. Billy lived on Hart Road, a mile to the east; and Tommy lived on Highway 51, about a mile west. The river also divided the school districts, so they went to different schools and did not know each other. A rumor spread that a deer had been seen drinking water from the river. A deer had

The Mississippi Fish and Game Commission offered a $25 reward to anyone that could photograph a deer, with visible terrain to prove it was taken in the Bogue Chitto River bottom. By coincidence, each boy, armed with his Brownie Flash Camera, went in search of this monumental monetary trophy. That is how they met. They spotted each other, each on opposite banks, separated by the river. “Hey, who are you?” Tommy called. not been seen in those parts since the early 1900's. They had been hunted to extinction as far as this bit of geography was concerned. Was the sighting of a deer a rumor or was it true?

“William Smith, but they call me Billy.” The river was too deep to wade at this point, so they conversed by yelling. Finally, they decided to go upstream about a quarter mile to the railroad bridge. There, they could cross the river and meet each other properly.

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They sat on the concrete perimeter of the railroad bridge with their legs dangling toward the water some fifteen feet below. That is when it appeared. Neither one of them had ever even seen a buck in the wild, but it was bigger than they had imagined. The deer was on a sandbar about one hundred fifty yards downstream. Simultaneously, they scrambled for their cameras and clicked the shutters at the same time. The deer vanished.

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********** The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries received both photos by mail the same day. The photos were practically identical, but submitted by different people. Each boy received the same letter. In summary, the letter informed them that there would be no reward because the Department had received identical pictures from the same location by two different people. The following Saturday, Tommy decided to go back to the same spot, at the same time of day, to see if the deer would reappear. He would then have a shot that would be somewhat different from the original, and he would be acclaimed the winner. Coincidentally, Billy had the same idea and was already in position on the bridge when Tommy arrived.

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Twenty-five dollars was a lot of money in those days, and twelve-year-old boys can be very competitive. That isn’t what happened that day on the bridge. The two agreed to write the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and split the money. Neither family had telephones, so they agreed to meet at the same spot the next Saturday. This they did. It became their routine. In all seasons, except the cold one, they spent at least one day a week, usually Saturday, fishing in the curve of the river. Even at an early age, there was a bond. Little did they know, it was a bond that would last a lifetime. ********** Neither boy had any brothers or sisters, and they began to depend on and confide in each other. Their common thread was that they both loved the woods and the river and claimed them as their own; when in fact, it was no more theirs than the deer who had intruded when their friendship began. Billy and Tommy were inseparable. When and where you would see one, you would see the other. Many years later, Tommy would say he never recalled having a cross word with Billy, not one. As they got older, their interests broadened, but never to the point of interfering with their friendship. Tommy had the more aggressive personality, and Billy was the shyer of the two. They complemented each other. Tommy was the first to have a girlfriend; his first and last. Mary Sue would eventually be his wife. Mary Sue had a sister, Betty Lynn. She would become Billy’s first girlfriend and his wife.

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As young adults, the two couples were together constantly. They went to church together, spent every holiday together, and even made the decision to buy cemetery plots adjacent to each other. With all this, the two friends still managed to make their trips to the curve in the river, though not as often. When they did go, it was almost a ritual. They first went to the curve in the river and then to the railroad bridge. A defining moment in their lives came when they were about twenty-five years old. Tommy was involved in an automobile accident. He was badly injured and in dire need of a blood transfusion. There was a problem. When his blood was typed, it was found to have a rare blood group antigen; a factor found in less than one percent of the population. Billy insisted upon being tested. He was a match. From then on, they referred to themselves as blood brothers. You would have thought the world had crashed and burned when Billy got the news that he had to move due to his job. Not just to another close-by location, but to Louisiana – south Louisiana. That was where the oil field work was, and that is all he knew. He was moving less than two hundred miles away, but Louisiana was a whole different type country. The food was different. They talked different. There were more Catholic churches than Baptist churches. Even the fish were different. It would take some doing to adjust, but the money was just too good to pass up. He and Betty Lynn had to move. The two old friends kept in touch, visiting each other at least twice a year. Tommy would go to Louisiana in the spring and Billy preferred coming home in the fall. Almost every time Billy came to Mississippi, they would spend a few hours on the river fishing. Over the years, the river changed. It was now polluted, and the cutting of timber had caused it to silt up and become very shallow. They seldom caught fish, but that had long since stopped being the purpose of going. On one trip back home, they poured a concrete perimeter around their cemetery plots. They then filled the barrier with top soil, leveled and sodded it. Theirs were the nicest plots in the cemetery. “Billy, if you keep living down there, they may accidently bury you in one of those cemeteries with the graves above the ground. Or worse yet, bury you in the ground and your casket will float up each time it floods.” “Not a chance, I am coming home so my dust will be part of my roots. You can bet on that.” ***********

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Years passed. They aged. Visits still occurred, but less often. It was also difficult for them to make their pilgrimage to the river. There was too much underbrush, and their aging legs made these visits rare. With age comes change, and eventual death. Betty Lynn unexpectedly passed away in her sleep. A stroke was


ruled the cause of death. Her body was brought home and placed in the plot the friends had bought and manicured years before. Billy had practically never known life without Betty Lynn. He did not manage well alone. Tommy and Mary Sue even went to spend a couple of weeks with him, and when they left, they still worried about their friend. They tried to persuade Billy to move back home. After all, he was retired now. He considered it. He even made a trip back to Mississippi to look at purchasing a house. Of course, it was near Tommy’s. But when he returned to Louisiana, he realized he had lived in Louisiana longer than he had lived in Mississippi. It was now, somehow, home too. The loneliness was what bothered him the most. At night, he would awaken and almost think he could hear Betty Lynn breathing next to him. He would reach to that side of the bed. Nothing was there, just emptiness. Just for something to do, once a week, he would go to the bank to check his balances. He feared identity theft; but more than that, he wanted something to do. Even more than that, he enjoyed the attention given him by Maria, who handled his account. Maria was about ten years younger than Billy, attractive, and a widow herself. She also knew everything about Billy’s finances, or at least enough to know he would be a good catch. She did not have to do much planning. Billy was lonely, and they were married. A marriage between a Louisiana woman and a Mississippi man can have some cultural differences, but they embraced those, and were happy.

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Tommy and Mary Sue would visit occasionally and became fond of Maria. Of course, the visits were not like they used to be. The relationship between the original four had evolved over fifty years. It would take time to totally accept Maria, and none of them had another 50 years left.

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********** The call came at daylight. The caller ID let Tommy know where it was from, and he knew a call at that time of the morning could not be good. It wasn’t. Billy had died unexpectedly. “Of course, Mary and I will come down for the funeral. I will also get his grave prepared here in our cemetery.” “Tommy, I am not going to bury him up there. He will be cremated.” Tommy felt rage swell within him. She was going to subject Billy's body to the fires of hell before God even had a chance to judge him. He wanted to scream, “No!” but refrained. There was silence. “Tommy, are you there?” “Yes, I am here.” “Will you be here for the memorial? You are family, you know.”

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“Yes, we will be there,” and that is all Tommy said. The drive to Houma, Louisiana, was the longest he had ever made. He estimated he had made the trip some fifty times. The service was in the funeral home. A minister from the Baptist church presided at the service. Tommy hoped he would, but he knew Maria was Catholic and he had his concerns. The service was almost over when Tommy spotted two small vases on a table in the front of the room. As the crowd was dispersing, Maria approached Tommy with one of the small vases. “Tommy, I know what you two meant to each other. He would want you to have part of his cremains. He and I know you will know what to do.” ********** Tommy’s first stop was at their cemetery plot. He carefully sprinkled about half the ashes over Betty’s grave. He held back his emotions.

The next morning, he placed the remaining ashes in a small backpack along with two bottles of water. He picked up a sturdy hiking stick and a small machete. He knew this would be a difficult trip and would take some time. He would go alone. A trip that sixty years prior would have been a thirty-minute walk, on this day, took him almost two hours. First, he went to the curve in the river. The river was shallow now, and if Billy had been on the other side, he could have easily waded across. He remembered the hours they spent, and he sat in the very spot they had shared so many times, so many years before. He did not grieve. He then went to the bridge. Because he was not as nimble now, it took almost a minute to comfortably lower his body to the perimeter of the bridge. Now he would grieve. His eyes shut tightly as his mind ventured to a dreamlike state. He remembered the first day he and his friend met. He remembered the big buck. He remembered he and Billy going to Davis Sporting Goods to buy

fishing rods and reels with the $12.50 each had earned from their photographs. It is not known how long he stayed in this trancelike state. His eyes opened as he heard the youthful voices of two young boys walking down the track. He could now see them, or could he? They were coming his way with fishing gear across their shoulders. Were they real or a mere reflection of two boys and a friendship that started at this spot almost seventy years ago? Then he looked down stream. On the sandbar were three does. Could they have been offspring of that old buck he and Billy had seen the day it all began? He opened the vase and allowed the ashes to float in the wind and waft their way to the water. The deer did not move. “Billy, my friend, my blood brother, you are home.” He never returned to the river again.

 John S. Case January 2018

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“Your Estate Matters” By Ronda M. Gabb, NP, JD, RFC

Legal-ease

2018 FIGURES HERE IS A LIST of important figures for 2018 that we use regularly in our law practice: 1) The amount you are free to give to each person for this calendar year without either party having to file anything with the IRS is $15,000. This means a married couple could give $30,000 to each recipient. This is called the annual exclusion gift amount. This is the first increase in 5 years. 2) The amount one spouse may gift for free to the other spouse who is not a U.S. Citizen: $152,000, and an unlimited amount to a spouse who is a U.S. Citizen. 3) The amount you are able to leave your loved ones at your death free of any estate taxes or state inheritance taxes: $11,200,000 per decedent. This means that a married couple may leave up to $22,400,000 estate and inheritance tax free. 4) For Medicaid to pay for nursing home care: the amount the “at home” community spouse may retain in countable resources if the other spouse is in a nursing home: $123,600. The primary home (with equity not to exceed $572,000) is not considered as a “countable” resource, but after the death of both spouses Medicaid may seek estate recovery against the home. 5) For Medicaid purposes, a single person who is in a nursing home may keep only up to $2,000 in countable resources, a married couple who both are in a nursing home may keep only up to $3,000 in countable resources. 6) Medicaid will not institute estate recovery against the home if an heir’s income is 300% or less of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The following are annualized 300% figures based on family size for 2018: (1) $36,180, (2) $48,720, (3) $61,260, (4) $73,800, (5) $86,340. For example, if ANY heir with a family of four makes less than $73,800 a year, Medicaid will not seek recovery against the entire home, not just that heir’s portion. 7) For Medicaid purposes, the amount of monthly income the “at home” spouse may keep of the “institutionalized” spouse’s monthly income is up to $3,090 per month total. This assumes the “at home” spouse had no other income.

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COURSE TOPICS INCLUDE: Duties of a Notary Public • Contracts • Juridical Acts • Mortgages, Suretyship Donation and Sale of Movables and Immovables • Testaments (Wills) & Successions Matrimonial Regimes • Partnerships, Corporations, LLCs • Miscellaneous Acts

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8) For the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension Program, the monthly tax-free benefit for both Veteran and Spouse needing care: $2,169; for Veteran only: $1,830; for healthy Veteran with sick spouse: $1,176; for Widow of Veteran: $1,153; and for Veteran married to Veteran: $2,903. 9) To have the assessed value of your Homestead “frozen” according to the “Senior Freeze” laws, an owner of the property must be 65 years of age or older, reside in the property, and have an AGI of $73,851 or less for 2018. You must provide the prior year’s tax return as proof.

Ronda M. Gabb is a Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist certified by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization. She is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Governor’s Elder Law Task Force. Ronda grew up in New Orleans East and first moved to Slidell in 1988, and now resides in Clipper Estates.

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Of Your Money

By Mike Rich, CFP®

Pontchartrain Investment Management

It’s a New Year, and time for a financial check-up. Mary and I will have our sixth grandchild in the spring of this year. He will be named Hudson John Rich, and his parents are my wonderful son, Michael, and his beautiful wife, Lacey. So, 2018 is starting off with a bang for our family. In addition to getting ready to welcome a sixth grandchild, the beginning of a new year is a good time for other things, such as taking stock of one’s financial situation. A good way to think about it is that you’re one year closer to needing money for your kids’ college tuition, or a year closer to retirement, or a year closer to figuring out what you want to do with your money when you’re no longer here. My guess is that many of my readers are just like me when it comes to getting motivated to do things that are good for us. For example, I’ve been a runner for almost 35 years, it’s a big part of my life, and the exercise has helped me maintain a decent weight and a reasonably

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However, I’m not lazy when it comes to financial things, and I’m on a mission to convince everyone I can that it truly doesn’t take a big effort to get on the road to financial fitness. You just have to use a little time and energy to get started. So, here’s a call to action for you. Review the checklist below. It’s not an exhaustive list, and not all of these will apply to everyone. However, my guess is that at least some of these statements are relevant for you, your spouse, or your family. Your answers are limited to yes, no, maybe so, or does not apply. If you are not happy with your responses, I invite you to call me for an appointment to meet. Here goes: 1. I have enough money in an easily-accessible bank account to cover at least three months of living expenses for my family. This is my emergency fund. Note: A new jet ski is not an emergency. 2. I have enough life insurance to protect my family. I know how much insurance I can purchase, and have calculated how much death benefit my family would need to replace the income I would have earned had I lived during my working career. 3. I know how my car insurance works and how it will pay if I have an accident. If I have teen-aged drivers at home, I have an umbrella liability insurance policy to supplement the limits of my car insurance. 4. If I can’t work because of a disability or long illness, my family will still have an adequate stream of income for as long as they need it. If I have group disability insurance, I understand precisely how it works and if it will work for my family.

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healthy body. However, despite knowing that running and jogging have been very good for me, I can find a hundred reasons for not getting out of bed in the morning and hitting the streets. If it’s raining, or too cold, or too hot, or too humid, or too whatever, I’ll try to talk myself out of it. I’m, basically, pretty lazy.


type of care I want. If family members can’t take care of me, I have a plan for paying someone to do it.

14. I am participating in an employer retirement plan or am contributing regularly to an IRA.

7. If I’m retired, I have done a cash flow projection to estimate how long my money might last. If I am the money manager in the family, my spouse knows how to take over for me if I can’t do it because of death, disability, or other issues.

15. If my spouse is the primary bread-winner in my family, I understand what might happen if the income stops because of a layoff, death, or disability. My spouse and I have a plan in case something like that happens.

8. I invest money regularly and am saving at least 10% to 15% of my gross income for future needs. I know how dollar cost averaging and compounding work, and I am taking full advantage of them.

16. I am working with a financial advisor who is helping me formulate financial goals, keeping me on track, and urging me to ignore the aforementioned brother-in-law when he tells me I’m a chump for not buying the latest hot stock.

9. I know how much it’s going to cost to send my kids to college, and I have a plan to pay for it. 10. I have diversified my investments among various asset classes. I know my tolerance for risk and I have an investment process from which I will not stray, unless the process – not my emotional state of mind, the financial media, or my brother-in-law – calls for doing something else.

17. I know how much income I would like in retirement, how much I need to save every year to achieve it, and how it needs to be invested so I have a reasonable chance of meeting my goals. I know that there are no guarantees for this, but I recognize the need to plan. 18. I know how to maximize my Social Security benefit.

11. I have specific short-, medium-, and long-term financial goals and my investments are aligned with them.

19. If I am a business owner, I have an exit strategy that might help me reap the financial value of my business when I’m ready.

12. I am aware of the potential impact of inflation on my money’s purchasing power and have made an honest assessment of how inflation might affect me in the future.

20. My spouse and I have wills, powers of attorney, and living wills, and they are up-to-date. My children and family members know where these documents are. They also know where to find my investment statements, insurance policies, group benefits information, annuity contracts, and other important documents.

13. I know my federal income tax bracket and I am doing everything I can to try to minimize taxes now and for the future.

I could probably add a few more items, but the list above is a pretty good place to start. So, how did you do? There’s nothing scientific about this, but if you answered “yes” to more than 50% of these statements, I’d say you are well on your way to working toward financial independence. On the other hand, maybe you’re not sure about some of these, or have not addressed them at all. If so, we should talk. Bring this list when we meet. It’ll be a good place to start our conversation. Mary and I are excited about the coming arrival of Hudson John, and I’m hoping that it’s going to be a good year for my family and me. So, why not make it a good year for you and your family? Working together, we can start on the road to getting your financial house in order. I can’t make any guarantees, of course, but at least you will have a better idea of where you stand financially. The only cost for our first meeting is a little bit of your time. Call me today for an appointment. Dollar Cost Averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuation in price levels of such securities. Investors should consider their ability to continue purchasing through fluctuating price levels. Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or out-perform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax deductible in the contribution year, with current income tax due at withdrawal. Withdrawals prior to age 59½ might result in a 10% IRS penalty tax, in addition to current income tax. 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.

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JAN.

MOST GOOGLED PERSON

MOST VIEWED VIDEO

120,852,632

views of Ed Sheeran – Shape of You Kyle Hanagami Choreography

POLITICAL

PERSONAL ASSISTANT

Donald J. Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

Amazon Alexa is launched. An estimated 20 million have been sold as of October.

IN THE STREETS

WOMEN'S MARCH on Washington drew over 400,000 people and over 5 million people participated worldwide.

Mary Tyler Moore dies at 80.

20

MOST LIKED PHOTO

FEB. CRINGE-WORTHY! And the Academy Award goes to... La La Land... OOPS!... I mean, Moonlight! 26

Year in

Beyonce is pregnant! Her pregnancy photo garnered 11.1 million likes.

LADY GAGA

117.5 MILLION viewers watched Lady Gaga perform at Super Bowl LI.


JOHNNIE B. GOODE

MAR.

CLOSING ITS DOORS Retail giant JC Penney announces that it will close the Slidell location.

BBC DAD Two babies make the “BBC Dad” viral. Ah, the joys of working from home.

17 Review

STORY BY DAWN RIVERA GRAPHICS BY DEVIN REESON

Legendary guitarist and vocalist Chuck Berry dies March 18 at the age of 90.

SLIDELL MARINA

APR.

Slidell gets the green light for bulkhead project at Slidell Municipal Marina at Heritage Park

STAR WARS MANIA

29 MILLION

watched the preview of Star Wars The Last Jedi, months before its release.

FLIGHT GONE WRONG Dr. David Dao's viral video surfaces of being dragged off an overbooked flight on United Airlines 3411.

ENGLAND

MAY

After an Ariana Grande concert, a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured several others.

GREGG ALLMAN Singer-songwriter and musician Gregg Allman dies at 69.

2,000 SQUARE FEET Size of the garage where Scott McCoskery invented the toy of 2017…the fidget spinner.

42,000 LIKES Twitter exploded from a tweet by Donald Trump with “Covfefe". It recieved 42,000 likes in the first hour. 27


ROMPHIM

JUN.

RompHim is a Kickstarter campaign that broke the internet: I have no words.

$100 MILLION

10 MINUTES

in domestic ticket sales for the movie Wonder Woman on opening weekend.

Duration of the shootout that injured House Majority Whip and Louisiana Congressman, Steve Scalise.

24,600 cities in which you can get a ride from Uber. CEO and founder, Travis Kalanick steps down.

POWERPOINT PHENOM

16.1 MILLION viewers of the Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere.

JUL. Dominic Allian from Salmen High School wins the United States Powerpoint championship!

MIDDENDORF'S

AUG. $100 MILLION Amount of money Mayweather won in his fight against McGregor with pay-per-view reporting 4.4 million domestic buys.

announces second location, in Slidell!

BACKSTREET'S BACK All five original Backstreeet Boys agree to tour in 2017.

HURRICANE HARVEY Makes landfall as a Category 4, making it the costliest on record. It devestated Houston, Texas and the outlying areas.

people viewed Judge Judy reuniting a dog with its rightful owner on the channel Viral Videos.

GOT GLASSES? HI THERE!

people retweeted Former President Obama's tweet of him graciously greeting children.

28

1,946,779

On August 21, the first total solar eclipse since 1979! It was dubbed "The Great American Eclipse" by the media.


SEP.

R.I.P. LT. RAY DUPUY

7.1 was the measurement on the Richter Scale of the earthquake in Mexico City. It killed over 200 people and injured several others.

5, 4, 5 Categories of hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria.

LAS VEGAS

OCT. MORE WINE!

On October 1, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 21 Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. 58 people were killed and over 500 were injured.

The inaugural Taste of Olde Towne week in Slidell was a HUGE success!

500+

NOV.

Number of volunteers that came out to participate in “Keep Slidell Beautiful” clean up day.

DEC.

SNOW! It actually snowed in southeast Louisiana! Reports suggest as much as 6 1/2" of snow fell in some areas. Here's a picture of Slidell's City Hall- BEAUTIFUL!

CLOSING ITS DOORS Target announces it will close the Slidell location.

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FOUR-LEGGED

OFFICERS Story and photos by Donna Bush

Do

you remember the June edition, when I wrote about the Budweiser Clydesdales visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras? They also appeared at the Louisiana Horses, Hops and Cops fundraiser in support of the New Orleans Police Department’s (NOPD) new horse-breeding program that kicked off in 2016. Their two pregnant mares, Endy and Allie, gave birth in 2017 to Tebo Stardust and Detroit Lady. NOPD has had a mounted division since 1925, even though it has endured changes over the years. For instance, at one time, each district housed their own horses within their locale. Today, all of the horses reside at the NOPD stables in City Park. Dave Waguespack, the lead trainer with NOPD Mounted Division, is joined by David Gaines, assistant trainer, and junior trainers, Will Cox and Regina Barr to make up this unique team of four that train both horses and riders. Dave has been with NOPD for thirty years and in the mounted division since 1992. He got involved with training in 2000 and became lead trainer in 2006.

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The team is responsible for the care and upkeep of the 20+ horses and barn, along with training new riders and horses. There are 7 permanent riders, with each caring for his/her own horse. Special events will see 18-20 mounted officers. Previously, the Mounted Division horses came from either private donations or Angola Prison’s breeding program. In 2016, Angola halted their horse-breeding program, leaving NOPD looking for an alternative. They were able to acquire two brood mares and a stallion from Angola. Hence, they made the decision to form their own breeding program. Warm-blooded horses are preferred, as they provide the size and docile nature of a draft horse and the agility of a quarter horse. A warm-blooded horse is the product of mating a hot and cold-blooded horse. Hot-blooded horses are thoroughbreds or quarter horses -- think high-strung racehorses. Cold-blooded horses are draft horses, usually very big in size and quite laid-back -- think Clydesdales. In the past, Percheron horses were used and provided exactly what they needed.

"Tebo Stardust," a colt, was born in March of 2017 and "Detroit Lady," a filly, was born a month later. I was lucky enough to photograph both babies, documenting their growth. "Stardust" was the stud/father of both, and has since, sadly, passed away. However, he leaves behind quite a legacy of police horses. With the loss of their stud, NOPD had to look at other means of breeding. They reached out to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and their Theriogenology Department. According to dictionary.com, theriogenology is the branch of veterinary medicine encompassing all aspects of reproduction. Their plan is to transport the two brood mares to LSU in the spring where they will be artificially inseminated with semen from a Friesian. The Friesian breed originated in The Netherlands and is considered a warm-blood. If you remember my description of baby Clydesdale training, you’ll understand it is very similar with the newborn police horses. Lessons begin the day they are born, with imprinting, handling and getting them used to people. Primarily,


David and Regina are responsible for training the horses, but the whole team takes part. This allows the horses exposure to several different people, which aids their adaptation to crowd exposure. Per David, “We start their training the day they are born and work with them every day if possible, getting them acclimated to handling and human contact. The whole process leads up to the day they are ridden for the first time. In the old days, you would put the horses out in a pasture, let them breed and have babies, then round them up, bring them in and try to break them. A whole lot harder that way! Working with them several days a week is much more time consuming, but it is work that pays off.” Per Dave, “It takes 3-4 years to get a new foal out on the street. They have to be old enough, big enough and trained properly.” Regina shared, “We get them used to being groomed, with noises around them, by using hair dryers and clippers next to their ears. We even take a lead rope and work it around their girth helping them become accustomed to something in that area as preparation for the day they have a saddle with a girth strap on them.” By the time the horse experiences a saddle for the first time, it won’t be a shock, and they will not even want to buck. David has been around horses since he was a child, eventually riding professional

rodeo for years and even acquiring a rodeo scholarship from an Arkansas college. It’s easy to see he is a natural with the horses. I watched as he worked with Detroit Lady, lunging her in the round pen. She’s feisty, smart and, at seven months, she’s already learning to change lead lines. David used a technique I’d never seen before. He would lightly brush the lash of the lunge whip around each foot to help her adapt to something touching her feet, making it easier for the farrier to work with her hooves. Tebo Stardust, a month older and a hand taller, is much more laid back than Detroit Lady. David works him a little harder. He is already much more tolerant of the lunge whip around his feet than his half-sister. Tebo will not go on the street as a police horse. Since he is the last male of the lineage

that sired most of their horses, he will be kept as a stud to sire future police horses. Training the foals is certainly much easier than working with a donated mature horse that has to be broken of bad habits and desensitized to strange noises that will be encountered. With an older horse, there is only so much they can do to desensitize them. Rider training is an intense 3-week course that takes place each October. The entire team has a hand in training the riders with a combination of classroom and daily riding. Each rider is taught to groom and tack the horse, load and trailer the horse to the patrol location, and to ride and control the horse in any situation. The rider must be able to maneuver his/her horse forward, backward, diagonally, and side ways, walk, trot and canter. They are even taught to frisk and handcuff a suspect from horseback! Although this is not the preferred way to handle a situation, sometimes it is necessary. Dave pretended to be a suspect as David demonstrated the technique from horseback. First David instructs his suspect, “Place your hands behind your head. Walk backwards toward my voice.” When the suspect reaches David and his horse, he wraps his leg around the suspect pinning him against his mount on the side away from his gun. Remember the mounted officers have on spurs! David tucks the reins under his leg to keep 31


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his horse steady as he bends over to pat down the suspect. He places a handcuff on the suspect’s wrist, pulls this arm behind the suspect’s back, then pulls the other arm back and places the handcuff on this wrist. At this point, the suspect is cuffed and can be led down the street to a patrol car. After the demonstration, the trainees give it a try. Riders are taught to maneuver their horse against a would-be assailant by using the horse’s weight to push the assailant away from the front with the head and neck of the horse and away from the back using the hindquarters. Another technique demonstrated by the trainers then emulated by the trainees. During the training, both riders and horses are exposed to a variety of environmental conditions, allowing the rider to learn how to control his/her horse in these unique circumstances. Conditions might be things such as fireworks, smoke, gunfire, or construction. As their training progresses, they will take to the streets for daytime patrols and eventually nighttime patrols. Each fulltime rider has a primary mount. When the rider is off duty, the horse is off duty. When the rider works, the horse works. This establishes a bond between horse and rider, allowing them to get to know each other. The rider learns how his/her horse reacts in different situations, what it might be skittish of, and the horse learns its rider. Naturally, if a horse throws a shoe or has an injury, the rider can use a different horse. What is the purpose of the NOPD Mounted Division? Horses are in the field 7 days a week. They are always in the French Quarter and patrolling the bus stops around Canal and Basin Streets. They act as representatives of the city, welcoming all. Tourists and locals feel an officer on horseback is more approachable than one in a patrol car or on foot. While I was photographing Will Cox on Gypsy and Matt McCleary on B.B., numerous tourists and locals walked up, asking to pet the horses and acquiring local information. Another purpose is visibility. The 16-17-hand height of the horse adds several more feet to the viewpoint of an officer. They are also a crime deterrent. No one wants to wrestle with a 2000 pound horse or be stepped on by one! They are the absolute best at crowd control - while friendly, they are still impressive and intimidating in size. Horse and rider can move more easily through a crowd than an officer on foot or in a car. One horse and rider can do the job of 8-10 officers on foot!


In addition to the daily/nightly patrols, the mounted division is out in full force for Mardi Gras, Bayou Classic, New Years Eve and all festivals and events. Anyone who’s ever been on Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday knows about the NOPD Mounted Police sweeping the streets closed at midnight. Did you know that our very own Slidell Police Department (SPD) has a mounted division? Yes! I’m sad to say I just came to this realization a few months ago, although they’ve had the division for seven years. It was formed shortly after Randy Smith took office as the SPD Chief of Police. Officer Don Nunez approached him about his vision of a Mounted Division and received the go ahead to make it happen. Officer Nunez and Captain Marvin Bordelon, head of the Mounted Division, attended NOPD’s threeweek rider training program, along with their horses. With their horses stabled at NOPD, their day began around 4am as they drove to the stable to feed and groom horses before a day of training. Marvin shared, “By the third week, I’d feed and groom my horse, then take an hour nap in the truck, before class began.” It takes a special person to want Mounted as their career. SPD’s Mounted Division differs from NOPD’s in a few ways. First, they are much smaller, with five horses and four riders. Secondly, each rider bears the responsibility of the upkeep and costs associated with the horse. Four of their horses have been donated, which is wonderful. But there are many other expenses – feed, hay, shavings, veterinarian bills, boarding and more. Lots of officers are interested in being a part of the Mounted Division, but not all have the time and resources that are required. It is not a typical 8-hour workday. Each mounted officer must visit his horse at least once daily to muck the stall, groom, feed, water and care for his horse. For Marvin and the other officers, it is a family responsibility. Marvin’s wife and two children pitch in to help care for his horse, Kaiden.

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One of their main purposes is community outreach, allowing them to reach out to those who have a dislike or fear of police and open a door to communication. They are ambassadors of goodwill. As Marvin shared, “It is rare for people to walk by and not want to pet the horses or talk to us about them.” While I was in Heritage Park photographing the officers and their mounts, a father and his three children approached to pet and learn more about the horses. Marvin told me, “At most of our jobs, we are the ‘Happy Police.’” The Mounted Division attends all of the local parades, festivals and fairs, some Olde Towne events and, 33


new this year, they can be seen at the Fremaux Town Center as a crime deterrent. Pontchatoula invites them every year for the Strawberry Festival and Bogalusa requests their assistance with their Mardi Gras parade. Both of these are serious working events, providing crowd control and breaking up fights. One of their mounts, Officer Nunez’s "Trooper," is a warm-blooded Percheron like NOPD utilizes. Trooper began his career at Angola Correctional Center as a line horse monitoring the inmates on details. Now he has progressed to police work with Don, a big fan of the Percheron breed. Marvin prefers the American Quarter Horse due to their extensive breeding as a ranch horse, learning to chase and herd cows along with many different tasks. “Kaiden," a retired thoroughbred racehorse, is Marvin’s main horse. He's bred to run and that’s all he really wants to do. It takes a firm and patient hand to control and temper him. Dave Waguespack, with NOPD, says that only one out of ten thoroughbreds will make it as a police horse. It is their different hot-blooded temperament that makes this 34

a difficult achievement. Officer Eldon Juneau and his American Quarterhorse, "Chesney," are the newest members of the SPD mounted team, which also includes Officer Jimmy Estes on "Bear," their oldest at 23-years-old and probably their most stable horse. Marvin expressed, “This horse has made some not so good riders look really good!” "Maia," an American Quarter Horse, was received three months ago as a donation from a Jackson County Mississippi mounted patrol instructor who retired. She’s very laid back and likes to take life slowly.

Their skillset from the NOPD training is supplemented by trainer Julia Shanks at Lewis Stables, where four of the five horses are boarded. Kindly, Julia donates her training hours. She has known Marvin since he was five years old and visiting the stables for riding lessons. Their love and respect of the horses and each other are obvious. Every quarter the team goes through additional training and a checklist of drills to stay fresh and up-to-date on their abilities. Thankfully, our lovely city is not a high crime area, but they want to keep these skills active should they ever be needed. Julia, Don and Trooper showed me the maneuver to hold off an assailant as she pushed against the 1600-pound horse, but he pushed back thwarting her attempt. His wide-legged anchored stance in the tactic says it all. The Mounted patrol demonstrated the “V” formation, which is used to push their way through a thick crowd. Eldon on Chesney led the way with Don on Trooper and Marvin on Kaiden flanking him. Julia described, “One officer and horse takes the lead as the point of the “V” and the other two take the flank, making


a wedge.” They ride close together like a precision flight team, making for a very effective technique. Julia told me of an incident at St. Margaret Mary’s Fair, “A fight broke out and the officers on foot couldn’t reach it due to the crowd. They called for the horses, which made a wedge, behind the wedge were the dogs, followed by the foot patrol, allowing the officers to reach the fight.” SPD is heading into their busy season with Christmas, followed by their busiest with Mardi Gras. Marvin’s favorite event is the St. Margaret Mary Fair. It offers the time to visit intimately with attendees. Parades are nice, but they are constantly moving, offering no time to talk with patrons. They tend to take off summertime, June to September, due to the heat for both the horses and the riders. Officers still work with the horses to keep them exercised. I asked Marvin - what makes a horse a better partner than a human partner? He answered, “A horse is a better partner because of the amount of time we spend together, not just working together, but outside of work, the day-to-day stuff. Feeding, grooming, mucking their stalls. He knows I am the one who is going to take care of him, keeping him safe and healthy. It’s like a husband and wife team - the bond, the love, and the trust. Really what it boils down to is food! I’d love to say it’s because he thinks I’m really smart,

but it really is the amount of time spent together and food.” Marvin offered a wonderful example of a horse aiding in a SPD situation. “At another one of the St. Margaret Mary Fairs, there was a call of a male subject on the grounds who was a known sex-offender. He should not be around children and such environments. Someone spotted him and reported he was wearing a purple shirt. From their view on top of the horses, they could see the entire fairgrounds area. Officer Eldon Juneau spotted him and radioed to the officers on foot, directing them to the subject’s exact location, where he was apprehended. That 8-10 foot vantage point definitely assisted in this apprehension and prevention of a possible crime.” By the way, rumor has it SPD Chief Fandal will be riding one of the horses this year! Be on the watch, you might by the first to spy him! Ask any mounted police officer and he/she will tell you this, “You can only see so much from the seat of a car, but you can see everything from the seat of a horse.” Officer and horse share a trusted bond, knowing that each is there to protect the other. I highly recommend when you are out and about and see a mounted officer and his partner, whether New Orleans or Slidell, that you stop and visit with them. Thank them for all that they do to protect us.

Louisiana Horses, Hops, and Cops Fundraiser This year Louisiana Horses, Hops, and Cops Fundraiser is scheduled for Monday, January 29 with Jan. 30 as a rain day. You can enjoy a fun evening of music, food, and horses – meeting both the Budweiser Clydesdales and the NOPD mounted horses in beautiful New Orleans City Park.

Donations To donate to Slidell Police Department’s Mounted Division, make a check payable to Slidell Police Department and earmark it ‘Mounted Division'.

35


Go Beyond... Story and Photos by Rose Marie Sand

An amazing Slidell experience in

HAWAII I

was walking along the beach in Kona, Hawaii on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and heard music coming from an upstairs open bar.

(You know that I have always wanted to start off a column that way.) My friend, Debbie, and I made our Thanksgiving week plans on the Big Island of Hawaii to include both unscheduled time to hang out like the Islanders and scheduled

36

excursions. We snorkeled with Manta Rays at night in the ocean, toured ancient volcanoes and lava beds, and star gazed on top of Mauna Loa at 14,000 feet. We followed the music, and often met locals who invited us into their lives and homes.

Jazz Bar in Kona, I was overjoyed to find a room full of kindred spirits playing ukulele along with a foursome onstage. That’s what ukulele clubs do – meet and strum and sing and laugh out loud. And every group I’ve ever found is inclusive and welcoming.

Now, I’m what can best be described as an ukulele enthusiast; so when we ventured upstairs to trace the source of exuberant strumming and joyous singing at Gertrude’s

So, we were invited to sit at a crowded table, and met some of the players who were scattered about the bar. Quick introductions, offers of drinks - we could have


been Anywhere, USA. Until you glanced from the stage to the pounding ocean and dark lava rocks outlining the beach. This chance meeting meant the ukulele I’d brought along was tucked in its travel case in my hotel room, but that didn’t stop me from singing along. As I joined in on Mele Kalikimaka, Debbie chatted with a woman who’d welcomed us to her table named Sandy. I overheard Debbie introducing herself as a Louisianian, and then heard Sandy say “Slidell.” A glance in their direction showed Sandy’s glistening eyes as she looked into Debbie’s. Although I couldn’t hear their conversation, I saw there was more than a love of music in their connection. You see, fifty-two years ago, Sandy lost her sister, a Slidell resident. Meeting someone from Slidell brought a flood of emotions that hit her like fresh grief. But the grief was also mixed with something else, something I need to share with you in this column. What was the community of Slidell like in 1965? The opening of the Michoud Assembly Facility, a NASA Computer Center, and the John C. Stennis Space Center nearly tripled our population. The town quickly became one of New Orleans’ most thriving suburbs. Nationally, that period of our history was also rife with change. Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but years of action and court challenges were needed to unravel the many means of institutional discrimination.

Playoffs? Playoffs?

Sandy’s story is a tale told of that era, and one I took to heart as I thought of my home 4,000 miles away, my own life fifty-two years ago, and my future.

Oh yesssss! Gear up for all the games at the Who Dat Shoppe!

Sandy’s eyes glistened as she went back in time to her sister’s death, and to the people who’d helped the family get through that time. Sandy remembered that, for days, people just brought food and showed up to help with her three little bereaved nieces and nephews. Her nine-year-old nephew lost his mother on his birthday, a mother who had been carrying his new sister or brother. Fifty-two years sounds like a long time; yet, in the blink of an eye, we can relive a memory and be right back there. We tend to think so much has changed, but often are brought up short to realize that many things haven’t. The love of a community and an outpouring of support

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and faith are as strong now as they’ve always been in Slidell. But what touched Sandy the most were the actions from Slidell's people of color. The day of the service, the people of color that knew her sister were not allowed in to express their grief and support to the family. They had to stand outside, she said. And stand they did, surrounding the church and the family when they left. One morning, several days after the service, Sandy was walking her nephew back to school. She remembered helping him get ready, combing his hair. “You comb my hair just like Mama did,” he told her. What a heartbreaking thing to hear. She held his hand, just like his mom did, but he let it go when he got close to school so no one would see. Just then, an older black man with a long white beard was coming toward them on the sidewalk. She recognized him as someone who knew her sister, and who had come forward to help out in their time of grief. As they approached, he stepped off the sidewalk to let them pass, as was the custom in those days. But for a moment, just a moment, their eyes met. Kindness, mutual respect and understanding bridged the gap of heartache and divide of racism. As Debbie and I toured the historic sites of Hawaii, we heard the history of the first settlers of the islands as early as 400AD by Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands, 2,000 miles away. Oral traditions of storytellers helped these wayfarers find their way through the hardships of such an open ocean, following birds and the winds and the stars. They became stewards of the land, their people and traditions. As 2018 dawns, an unknown and often scary future awaits. People can seem so disconnected and angry. Yet, I think of that one look that speaks of a shared humanity. I think of the stewardship and community I have witnessed and felt in Slidell, and I am heartened. It’s been said that history is the story we tell the future about the past in order to see the present through different eyes. Tell your stories of hope and survival, and show the way to our children. No matter the divide, love anyway. 38


What More in 2018?

Focus on

Faith

By Reverend W. C. Paysse Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes Church

A

re you making New Year resolutions? You know how it might list…get more sleep, clean more often, pray more, drink more water, get more organized, relax more often, have more patience… Indeed, the birth of 2018 is a time for new beginnings as we memorialize Mary, Mother of God on January 1. Mary’s role as mother of God places her in a unique position in God’s redemptive plan. The precise title goes back at least to the third or fourth century. In the Greek form Theotokos (God-bearer), it became the touchstone of the Catholic Church’s teaching about the Incarnation. The first week of January is filled with notable feasts: January 3 - The Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, in which the Church reveals the wonders of the Savior (Philippians 2:10). On January 4, we celebrate St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity. She also opened the first American parish school and first

American Catholic orphanage. January 7 is the Epiphany (traditionally Jan. 6, but transferred to the nearest Sunday). On this day, we follow the Magi to the crib as they bring their gifts (Mt. 2:112). This date also marks the official beginning of the Carnival/Mardi Gras with our wonderful King Cake tradition. The Church’s season of Christmas officially ends with the Baptism of the Lord (Mt. 3:13-17) by John the Baptist on January 8. January also marks the beginning of registration for our Catholic Elementary School, Our Lady of Lourdes. Our principal, Roy Delaney, makes the initial announcement regarding registration for the academic year 2018-2019. Registration for children up to Pre-K age will start January 17th, returning students and siblings will start registration January 22nd and new student (grades 1-7) registration begins on February 5th. We are really excited about our newest beginning in the school community. With the donation of a very generous

benefactor, we have received a building on Westchester Street. Affectionately referred to as the East Campus, this space will welcome a Nursery School (six weeks and up) and Pre-K 2. Elizabeth Ann Seton had no extraordinary gifts, but she practiced two great devotions: abandonment to the will of God and an ardent love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. She recognized “needs of the times” and sought to meet them. We attempt to do the same at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church and Parochial School. You are always welcome to join us! Forget those first resolutions about “doing more!” St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s brand of sanctity is open to everyone if we love God and do God’s will --- together. Wishing all of you a Blessed Year of New Beginnings,

Reverend W.C. Paysse Pastor


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by Jeff Perret, DVM

A Bone to Pick For some visual aid on what you’re about to read, do a Google image search for “canine slab fracture.” Go ahead. I’ll wait. Now, think about what a dog does when he chews a bone. He grabs and holds it between both front paws, and munches on it with his side teeth. Our cheek teeth chew straight up and down, grinding and crushing food between flat surfaces. But dogs’ premolars and molars are designed to shear food into little pieces; like a pair of scissors, they

go past each other. When dogs do that and crunch down on something too hard at just the right angle, a piece of the upper fourth premolar frequently breaks off, leaving a slab. Take a look at those Google images now. In November, the FDA released another warning for pet owners about bones and bone treats. They re-issue it every few years as a standard warning, emphasizing something different each time. In 2010, their first warning focused

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on dental issues. This year they decided to concentrate on diseases that can be carried inside the bone itself, letting the public know about several dogs that died as a result of infectious diseases contracted from bones. The FDA isn’t as concerned with the hardness of bones, and the resulting possibility of dental fractures, as they are about disease transmission. In all fairness, they have a human public health obligation. If your dog is chewing on a bone contaminated


with Salmonella, and then licks your face, you can get it. If a dog gets a tooth fracture, it's only a dog problem, not a public health one.

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Any type of bone can potentially cause problems. Steak bones are too hard for dogs’ teeth. Antlers and hooves are worse than bones because they're harder and smaller. Poultry bones chicken, turkey, and duck - are really awful because they are full of air, and thus splinter easily. The pieces can penetrate the dog's palate (roof of the mouth) and cause an abscess, or lodge in the esophagus or intestines, leading to life-threatening complications and emergency surgery. Oh, wait, what about rib bones?! Umm, no. Rib bones are out of bounds too. Bone chewing issues don't seem to apply much to house cats, because they don't seem to like chewing on hard things the way dogs do. Maybe they really are smarter than dogs. However, their larger, wilder relatives have major dental issues, given that they rip large prey apart for a living. Studies suggest that the leading cause of death among wild lions and jaguars in Africa is related to chewing bones: abscessed teeth. Tooth abscesses lead to the inability to eat, and the weakened animal becomes prey instead of predator. Thankfully, domestic cats usually don't have much trouble with the tiny rodent bones that they occasionally ingest. I can hear the counter arguments already. “I’ve given my dog bones forever and never had a problem!” Well, doing something risky and getting away with it isn’t a sign of good decision-making, it’s a sign of dumb luck. I also hear, “Wolves in the wild eat bones!” To that, I say, your Chihuahua isn’t a wolf, no matter what that Blue Buffalo commercial says. Also, see the wild lion information above. There are other serious medical problems that can occur with bones too: intestinal obstruction, choking, wounds in the mouth, vomiting/ diarrhea, intestinal perforations, and rectal bleeding (some of which could be fatal if not treated promptly). I recently heard about a simple way to test dog treats. If you can’t bend it with your hands, or by pressing it across your knee, Fido can’t have it. If it doesn't bend, don't give it, because it won't bend around his teeth either. That knee test can save your dog some significant pain and surgery, and can save you a lot of money Five out of five veterinary dentists agree. And so do I.

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Marching Into 2018 I don’t know about you, but I’m glad to see 2017 come to an end. It’s not that life drastically changes when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, but it does somehow give our internal batteries a fresh charge. It’s like we can see the past year as a period of intense training that we survived and conquered, making us better equipped for life… giving us a new hope for what good will come out of the hard lessons we’ve learned. If 2017 wasn’t your year of hell, then I’m sure you have one that sticks out in your mind. Either way, I am determined to wrap it up and stick a pretty bow on it, even if the contents inside are not so appealing. It’s how I’ve learned to move on. We tend to label years as “good” or “bad." But maybe we don’t have to. There are two signs that I have, one in my art room, painted by a friend of mine, that says, “Not all good. Not all bad.” And another that hangs on our back porch, which reads, “We do not 42

remember the days, we remember the moments.” If it’s not all good or all bad then why, for some reason, do we lean towards remembering the bad moments? Why do the painful things become the dominant feeling, overtaking any of the good parts? Because, certainly, there was a lot of good too. During military training, there are many body-draining, mind-screwing activities, meant to break you down from a civilian and build you into a Soldier. If you are highly sensitive, like me, there is a separate part of training to go through; which is, finding an outlet for those emotions. The difficult part, doing it without being seen. I found that emotional outlet during road marches. Something about getting up before the sun and marching in darkness with a bunch of gear on my body while holding a weapon in the ready position, helped me work through my feelings. No one talked, nature surrounded me, and I

was able to get in tune with my feelings without ridicule or shame. Even though it felt silly at times and I would think, “Why am I walking through the woods of South Carolina, in the dark, dressed like this?”, it helped. A lot. Every stick that cracked under my boot brought a deep thought, every small breeze that rolled over my red face brought thankfulness for being alive, and every bird that flew by gave me hope in what my future held. Also, I could cry if I needed to and no one ever knew it. You learn quickly that emotions, whether happy or sad, MUST be kept to yourself if you don’t want to make your 8-week transition even harder. Here are a couple examples of the consequences endured for showing emotion during basic military training. Sundays, in boot camp, is your day off. You take advantage of that time by doing laundry, writing a letter, squaring away your wall locker, going to church…


whatever it is you need to do to be prepared for training again on Monday. It is your “day of rest,” so to speak, and you are happy when it comes.

take whatever punishment I give you. Because, when one person messes up, WE ALL SUFFER.

One Saturday evening, as our platoon stood in formation, the Drill Sergeant yelled those magical words, “FALL OUT!” This simply means breaking from formation to walk your happy ass to your bunk, sleep, and have the whole next day without anyone screaming at you. Well, one guy decided he was way too happy about this and needed to express it loudly, in the form of STUPID.

For the next two hours, we were low crawling, back and forth, through a grassy area the size of a football field, that was COVERED in fire ants. We were even told to take our long-sleeved jackets off to get the full effect of this painful experience in our thin, short-sleeved undershirt. This day of rest wasn’t very comfortable with bloody elbows and our forearms, chest, and stomach swollen with ant bites.

As we started walking towards our 24 hours of freedom and the DS walked to his car, this moron yells, “GET ME A CHEESEBURGER FROM MCDONALDS WHEN YOU COME BACK, DRILL SERGEANT!”.

It took us awhile to forgive that guy. But, we did. I even made a joke after graduation, asking him if he was headed to McDonalds for that cheeseburger. It was a twitchy kind of post-traumatic laugh, BUT, we all laughed.

WRONG. ANSWER.

The next example of showing emotional vulnerability during Boot Camp stemmed from pride, anger, and a moody female soldier on the second day of her period.

All we hear is “FALL IN!” Meaning, walk your happy asses BACK to formation and

Luckily, for everyone else, it was a Sunday, and no one was around. Just me, carrying a basket of laundry, and the DS on duty. BUT, there is a back story. I had four Drill Sergeants. This particular one was a young infantry man during Vietnam. I was 17, looking like I was going on 14. Tiny, cute and female. HE. HATED. ME. I understood his feelings, given the difficult circumstances life had handed him; but was certainly determined to prove him wrong. That shit-storm in life that rolls in and teaches you a tough lesson… the 2017 of boot camp… yeah, that was HIM. From day one, he singled me out. He tried to plant the seed of doubt in me by finding my weaknesses, honing in on them to the greatest extent, then using them to make me want to give up. He was an Airborne Ranger and a Jump Master, having over 100 jumps under 43


his belt. He prided himself on this. He scared all of us. Week One, when he asked the Platoon who had orders to Airborne school, and I was the only girl to raise her hand, he laughed aloud, and in front of everyone, told me I was weak and I would fail. And in this school, the odds were, I probably would. He reminded me almost every single day, from that moment on, what a joke I was to the United States Army and then did his best to try and make that a truth for himself. This was 23 years ago, so maybe things have changed, but this was a time when someone like him needed that, and someone like me needed to not let him win. With only a week left until graduation, following 7 weeks of emotional and physical torture from him, we found ourselves alone one Sunday as I was carrying my laundry, making my way to the bottom steps of the three-storied building we lived in. My bunk was on the 3rd floor.

He screamed in my face, telling me to run up those three flights of stairs as fast as I could, then, once at the top, he yelled for me to run back down. When reaching the bottom again, he said “ONE!” Then had me drop to the concrete and do 10 pushups, as I counted each of them out loud. It hurt, it sucked, and it got much worse, very quickly. My day of rest was spent running up and down those three flights of stairs, many times. 20 to be exact. 10 pushups after each. He made me hate him, hate myself, and hate the Army with every put-down that came out of his ugly mouth. Around the 15th time up the stairs, I remember feeling like I was running on the inside, but moving in slow-mo on the outside as he continued to ridicule me. I couldn’t feel my legs and could barely breathe from all the crap in my chest. This continued until I finally suffered through my last ten, very pitiful, pushups. Then, I fell to my stomach on the cold concrete, and coughed up a bunch of green stuff onto the ground. He yelled, “ON YOUR FEET!”

Instead, I coughed up some more junk, spit it on the ground, and said, “WHAT ELSE YA GOT FOR ME?”. He paused a second, shook his head, called me a name, then sent me upstairs with my laundry basket. I had the ugliest cry face while limping back up those horrible steps, but I didn’t let him see it. No way in hell. When graduation came, all four Drill Sergeants walked through the formation, shaking the hand of each newly formed Soldier they had trained. As my nemesis worked his way closer, I didn’t know what to expect. I figured he would either skip me, say nothing, or leave me with some hurtful words that I would painfully carry in my heart for the rest of my life. It’s just the kind of thing he did. Yet, to my surprise, he did none of the above.

As I came to my feet, shaking, I stood at attention, the best I could. I didn’t move, and, respectfully, I looked straight ahead this time, waiting for his next order.

When the time came, I looked straight ahead, not locking eyes with him, ready for… whatever, really. He stood directly in front of me for a few seconds, then stuck out his hand to shake mine. So, I did the same. I could feel him staring at me. I continued to look at the persons head in front of me, not moving one eye muscle, not revealing any emotion. In a quiet, demanding voice, I hear, “Look at me”. So, I did.

Did I mention it was that time of the month? Or that I had a terrible cold for 2 weeks? Well, not to him I didn’t.

“PRIVATE THOMAS! YOU ARE WEAK! YOU WILL NEVER BE AIRBORNE! YOU NEED TO BE BACK HOME MAKING BABIES AND DOING THINGS THAT WOMAN DO! WHY ARE YOU HERE?!

When I looked in his eyes, they turned human-like for a moment. He gave me an approving nod.

Because of this, on my last push-up, I decided to let my emotions get the best of me. I stood up proudly, looked him STRAIGHT IN HIS LIFELESS EYES (which is something you DO NOT do), and told him, stupidly,

The proper response in this situation would be to say, “Yes, Drill Sergeant!" Or, “I don’t know, Drill Sergeant!” then move along quietly until my next ass whoopin’. It’s certainly what he expected me to do.

Then, from the hardest, meanest, most intimidating asshole of a person that I had ever met in my life, I received these words…

I had somehow managed to keep my crazy at bay during those long weeks with this lunatic, never breaking. But it seemed the more I held it together, the more he pushed. As I walked to the stairs, not looking at him or saying a word, he stopped me. “Private Thomas. Give me 20!” I set my basket down, and like usual, dropped to the concrete, knocking out 20.

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“WHAT ELSE YA GOT FOR ME?”

“Good job, Thomas. You will make a great Soldier. An Airborne Soldier.”


R

, AS ADRS & ION.

When the clock strikes midnight on the first day of 2018, I will remember those words he left me with. It will be as if I am shaking hands with 2017, as harsh as it has been, and taking with me the difficult lessons it has taught. Even the times when there really WAS no clear lesson. When it was JUST HARD. The thing is, it’s in those times the blessing also appeared… when people come out of the woodwork. People to listen, lend a hand, give some advice, and maybe even toughen me up a little. So yes, there WAS a lot of good in 2017. It’s a choice to see it, but you have to get out of your own way a little first. Because, like a friend told me, “You can’t appreciate the good without the bad. You also can’t see the good if you focus on the bad.”

When losses come and it feels like EVERYTHING that follows hurts more than normal, I will remember my Mom’s advice, “Because of the big things, the little things hurt more than they should.” Or “When you choose to love, it makes the losses worse.” If you think of a certain bad experience, then visualize all the good that surrounded it… the hidden blessings… you will see a whole lot. Certainly, more than I realized. Most of them are in the people who want to see you do better, who remind you of the good when you are too exhausted to see it. Your kids, that pull you back to that innocent place of happiness, so you will smile, or be silly. A friend that teaches you how to ground yourself and just BREATHE… Or makes you laugh until you spit your wine out.

But especially, ESPECIALLY, in the ones who were suffering too, maybe even worse than you, that unknowingly taught you with THEIR enduring strength, to keep marching on through those dark woods. Feeling the various emotions, accepting them, and allowing them to do what they have to do until the sun comes up again. Not all good. Not all bad. For the blessings this past year that unexpectedly surfaced around the bad parts, I say, THANK YOU 2017, and bid you farewell with a firm handshake. And 2018, I’m ready. WHAT ELSE YA GOT FOR ME?

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!

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Dr. Jason Parker

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breac: baton rouge emergency aid coalition ( but you can call them "mom" )

Story and photos by Donna Bush

Editor's Note: This month, we continue our 12-part series covering the amazing work being done by Louisiana heroes in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes and natural disasters. Slidell Magazine's award-winning writer and photographer, Donna Bush, has spent months travelling with multiple Louisiana-based organizations and volunteers, documenting their missions in the affected areas and those whose lives they've impacted. We share an unfortunate kinship with these survivors. We know all too well that disaster recovery is a slow and painful process. We are proud to showcase the volunteer efforts of our fellow Louisianians.

46

ast month, I shared a story with you about Cajun Airlift and their partners. This month, I’d like to tell you more about Baton Rouge Emergency Aid Coalition (BREAC) and other organizations they collaborated with on relief efforts. BREAC, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, was formed by six women after the 2016 historic flooding in the Baton Rouge area. During the devastation, these women were working around the clock separately in a variety of capacities assisting the community. They quickly realized that combining their efforts would allow them to make a more significant impact. The group is comprised of physicians, attorneys, therapists, business owners, and other professions. Most importantly, they're all mothers with a common goal - to help others.

I spoke with Dr. Ashley Saucier, pediatric ER doctor and one of the founding members. She described some of the various tasks they’ve accomplished. In 2016, Ashley established medical units at Celtic Studios (used as a shelter for flood victims) and River Center Shelter. She ran the River Center medical unit for two weeks. April Ruffolo, whose family owns and runs Louisiana Culinary Institute, provided thousands of meals to shelters and volunteers. Michelle Forte, who owned a local shoe store at the time, was able to obtain shoe donations for those who lost everything in the floods. The group also restocked the food pantry for Mighty Moms of Livingston Parish, which provided food for underprivileged kids on the weekends and evenings through their Full Tummy Bag program. Additionally, they assisted in getting over 100 kids off the shelter floors by providing mattresses.


A CONTINUING COVERAGE SERIES FROM DONNA BUSH PART 3 OF 12 When Hurricane Harvey began flooding Houston and surrounding communities, Ashley reached out to the Physician Moms Group (PMG) Facebook page to see what assistance was needed. She connected with Dr. Jennifer McQuade, an MD Anderson melanoma oncologist, who just happened to live less than a mile from the George R. Brown Convention Center, which had been converted to a shelter. When Jennifer arrived at the shelter she found total chaos. She, along with other neighborhood doctors and RN’s, started offering basic first aid to residents. When she returned home that evening, she had a FB message from Ashley asking, “Are you running the medical shelter?” Per Jennifer, “No. There are agencies to run the medical needs.” But from personal experience, Ashley knew that would take too long. She pushed Jennifer to make it happen and she did! This dynamic duo, along with other PMGers, used social media to reach others for desperately needed medications, such as insulin, blood pressure meds, antiseizure meds, antibiotics, and more. They were able to assist evacuees from nursing homes with long term feeding tubes, patients on chemotherapy and those needing dialysis. Ashley’s super power is to connect people. Per Ashley, “A call comes in for a specific need, for example, insulin and it seems like five minutes later, the next caller says, ‘I have insulin. Know anyone who can use it?’ It always comes together!”

BREAC and PMG didn’t stop there. They partnered with Cajun Airlift to fly pallets of pack-n-plays and strollers from Baton Rouge to Houston for use in the Texas super shelters so babies could sleep safely and Moms could carry their children in strollers instead of in their arms. Cajun Airlift assisted with flights of medication carrying either a doctor or pharmacist to Alexandria and hard-hit Beaumont. Out of the Hurricane Harvey initiative Physicians Relief Network (PRN) was formed as a closed FB group allowing physicians to reach out to one another for assistance from those who’ve already been through such crisis situations. This became critical with the immediate threats of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. They proactively reached out to Florida prior to Irma’s landfall and provided significant resources to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. After Hurricane Maria, LSU Hispanic Student Cultural Society (LSU HSCS) formed their own Cajun Relief Initiative. LSU Ph.D Jose Torres, HSCS group advisor and Liz Lebron, an LSU doctorial student, were feeling extremely helpless with relatives stranded in Puerto Rico and no way to know if they were safe. The group of 15 students banded together to set up a ‘You Caring’ page to raise money for supplies. They partnered with Cajun Airlift, BREAC and PRN to get their donations and resources to the hardest hit areas. This has been the group’s first experience offering disaster aid, but it has been such a rewarding endeavor for all that it could lead to further efforts. BREAC and Cajun Airlift partnered with Dow Chemical, who graciously offered three seats on a flight scheduled from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Baton Rouge to bring four-year-old Abraham, his younger brother and mother to the mainland for his cancer treatment in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Ashley arranged a medical oncology team to greet Abraham upon his arrival in Baton Rouge before he and his family traveled on to Houston. By the way, the Dow flight into Puerto Rico carried much needed medical relief also!

Per their website, “BREAC’s mission is to provide aid to individuals and groups in times of crisis.” By keeping a broad mission statement, they have been able to assist with a plethora of needs, including offering aid to two low-income families who lost their homes. Once airplanes landed supplies in Puerto Rico, ground transportation around the island was needed. They assisted with fuel for Jeep Wranglers to transport supplies to the hard to reach areas. California doctors reached out to BREAC to provide assistance to those affected by the California wildfires and again they responded. This amazing group of women and their partner groups have had, and will continue to have, a personal and lasting positive impact on their communities and world!

DONATIONS Donations are accepted via BREAC’s website: breac225.org They can be earmarked for a particular hurricane, wildfire or Cajun Airlift. Check them out on Facebook at Baton Rouge Emergency Aid Coalition. If you are a physician, please check out Physician Relief Network on Facebook. If you are a female physician, go to Physician Moms Group. Grassroots Med Relief on Facebook encompasses, BREAC, Cajun Airlift, Physician Relief Network, Medical Disaster Response Network and Doctoras Boricuas (Puerto Rican Women Doctors). LSUHSCS can be found on Facebook at LSU HSCS Cajun Relief Initiative. 47


Portraits of Slidell

Story and Photos by William Blackwell

SLIDELL STORES COMPANY The familiar two-story brick building located on the corner of Front Street and Cleveland Avenue has housed many successful businesses in its long and varied history. None of those impacted Slidell’s economy more than the Slidell Stores Company starting in 1909. Their high volume of sales and staggering variety of merchandise qualified it as one of Slidell’s first real department stores. William Blackwell is a native of Slidell. "Once I began studying photography, it seemed to me that some of those wonderful buildings in Olde Towne should be photographed to capture and preserve their memory, beauty, and antiquity for future generations." See his Slidell shots and more on his facebook page: FieldofViewPhotography 48

It was in 1893 that the Salmen Brick and Lumber Company constructed their new building to serve as the company store. This new Salmen Commissary replaced their older and smaller woodframed store that had been erected years before on the western side of the New Orleans and Northeastern railroad tracks. As with many other company

stores across the country, the early workers were paid in both cash and something called scrip or chits. This cash substitute was actually a form of credit that could only be used inside the commissary. After years of successful operations, the commissary was finally incorporated in 1909 under the name of Slidell Stores Company, LTD and was headed by Fritz Salmen, who served as president, and his brother, Albert, who became the vice-president. As the company name implied, there were a number of independent “for-profit” stores located in that building. These retailers were set up with their own financial arrangements and obligations to the company store. Mrs. Margaret McDaniel had such an arrangement


before she relocated herself to Cousin Street and became a totally independent merchant. This particular type of business model was not unusual during a time period when entire “company towns” existed across the U.S. and operated on similar principles.

materials were generously stocked as well. They carried clothing, shoes, hats, gloves, fabrics, linens and furniture. Unusual items such as farm implements, saddlery, harnesses, tractors, autos and even trucks could be found at this department store.

Much like our local Walmart, the Slidell Stores Company carried basic groceries, including all kinds of fresh dairy and produce. From their butcher shop, fresh and cured meats were available, especially after 1915 when Fritz Salmen and his investors formed their own livestock farming enterprise. Hardware, auto supplies and building

It’s unclear what year the store finally shut its doors, but we know it was still doing a brisk business through the early 1920’s, even running half-page ads and giving away free prizes for the 1922 Christmas season. Although the store is now long gone, it’s great to see that wonderful building today still being utilized by others as their home or business.

This ad ran in the St Tammany Farmer from Dec. 14 - Dec 23, 1922

49


OUT TAKES

SPONSORED BY

ag Slidell M2018 ary

90 - Janu

Slidell Magazine was EVERYWHERE this month! Here are just a few of our adventures!

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BEST. DRESSED. EVER RRRRR. Habitat for Humanit y Executive Director, Rene Arcemont, shows us how to Christmas style SASSY make !

Slidell Magazine Editor, Kendra Man ess, makes her theatrical debut (hehehehe) in the STARC Christmas Play. Kendra (back, center) played the part of Hyper Elf! A great time was had by all!

Tuesdays

The talented & beau tiful Slidell Women’s Civic Club dancers, led by Miss Rosemary Clement, opened the festivities at the 4t h Annual Bayou Chris tmas in Heritage Park

rmer LA State There we are! Fo e owe shows off th Senator A.G. Cr on the on llo ba air ine Slidell Magaz l map, interactive digita .online. sa llu de sli op sh www. t! ou it k Chec

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Slidell Magazine - 90th Edition  
Slidell Magazine - 90th Edition  
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