Vol. 76 November 2016
STOP THE MADNESS ART EXHIBIT Nov. 18 - Dec. 23 CECA Gallery at Cutting Edge Theater
T e Pe Th Peac acem ac emak akeerr byy Kim m Ber erge gero erro on on
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I laid out the artwork on the cover of the magazine and felt conﬁdent that we had accurately depicted the current emotional and political climate in our community. Then, I applied all of the graphics that are on each cover - the volume number, the date, and our magazine’s motto, We Say Keep It Fresh, Keep It Positive. That’s when it hit me. Not one thing about this election has been Fresh or Positive. And the magazine’s motto is more than just a saying to me - it’s my promise to Slidell. There’s a story behind the illustration above and the cover of this month’s edition: I started planning the cover of the November edition of Slidell Magazine about 3 months ago. I contacted our amazing illustrator, Zac McGovern, with an idea - how about an original illustration of Hillary and Donald facing off in the ﬁnal days before this historic election? Zac loved the challenge. He got to work immediately on artwork that would encapsulate all of the passion and fervor felt by Slidellians and people across the country. His artwork (above) was perfect. Without bias, Zac shows both candidates riding high atop their political party platforms, both of which are weary from the burdensome journey of this election.
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Kendra Maness - Editor/Publisher Editor@SlidellMag.com
Devin Reeson - Graphic Designer Graphics@SlidellMag.com Illustrations by: Zac McGovern www.HalMundane.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS EFOP, Charlotte Lowry Collins The Storyteller, John Case Jockularity, Corey Hogue Pet Points, Jeff Perret, DVM Crimmi-Mommly Insane, Leslie Gates Making Cents of Your Money, Mike Rich MikeRich@MyPontchartrain.com STARC and COAST, Donna Bush Donna.Bush@yahoo.com Stop The Madness, Story & Design by Kim Bergeron Giacobbe Dance, John Felsher A Thanksgiving Letter, by Sam Caruso, Jr. Once Upon A Time, excerpt from Images of America: Slidell by Bonnie Vanney
COVER ART “THE PEACEMAKER” BY KIM BERGERON
Zac’s artwork brilliantly depicts two political caricatures that have evoked negativity and division and made us all pretty tired. Zac nailed it. He’s such a talented artist and I am honored that he would allow me to use his illustration for my cover. But I just can’t. So, what would the cover be? I’m not a fan of John Lennon. I appreciated his talent, but disagreed with his lifestyle. I was too young to understand his political or religious views when he was alive. Now that I’m an adult and a politically conservative Christian, I’m uncomfortable with many of the things that he represented. When Kim originally sent me the artwork, my response was, “I’m not putting that dope smoking liberal hippie on my cover.” Yet, I couldn’t get the cover image out of my head. The artwork itself was mezmerizing - the colors were beautiful and calming. The words “Give Peace A Chance” made me optimistic and hopeful. That is EXACTLY what I want Slidell Magazine to represent. Unlike any news clip, debate forum or facebook rant, this artwork has made me happy and caused me to rethink my deﬁnitions. Kumbaya.
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Cover Artist kim bergeron Kim Bergeron is an artist and entrepreneur. She’s the owner of Kim Bergeron Productions, an advertising, marketing and public relations ﬁrm with a reputation for innovative approaches and creative solutions. She is also the founder of Artists & Causes, an organization working to bring together the creative community and non-proﬁts for successful fundraising efforts with partnerships that are mutually beneﬁcial to both the artists and the causes. Following a decade of public service as the media specialist and Director of Cultural & Public Affairs for Slidell, Kim has served as a volunteer for many non-proﬁt efforts. Among her favorites are the Train of Hope for Sandy Relief, which she co-coordinated, and two projects for EST Habitat for Humanity, The Beatles Adentures and Hope for Habitat: Katrina X. The Habitat projects are featured on her blog, RightBrainDiaries.com, which in 2015, the Public Relations Society of America/New Orleans Chapter named its overall Best of Category/Social Media award recipient. Kim’s work for artists and non-proﬁts has been recognized with numerous accolades, including American Red Cross’ Power of Women Award in 2016 and New Orleans City Business’ 50 Women of the Year Award in 2013 and 2015. Kim is currently working on NOLA 300, a book celebrating the Crescent City and its artists in conjunction with the city’s tricentennial in 2018.
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Extraordinarily Fascinating “Ordinary” People by Charlotte Lowry Collins
George Dunbar “The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.” ~ Anton Chekhov This month, I have presented you with my biggest EFOP challenge to date. George Bauer Dunbar is no doubt an “Extraordinary Fascinating Person.” The catch is that, the “O” in EFOP stands for Ordinary, and he is anything but ordinary. That was only one of my challenges. I also was far from convinced that I could do justice for someone who was one of my mentors, one of my Dad’s best friends, and an internationally acclaimed artist. It nagged at me every month. Finally, I called Kendra, and told her that I had to do this. As usual, she supported me one hundred percent. Knowing that Dunbar’s retrospective at NOMA is in November, I determined in early October to jump on it. My call to his house was one of those middle of the day, now or never challenges. I was relieved when Louisette Brown, his soul mate, answered, giving me a chance to bounce my idea off her. My relief was short lived; she almost immediately put me to task by handing the phone to George. We discussed schedules for a moment, and quickly he said, “We’ll do whatever you want. How about tomorrow, humh?” As a child, I was unaware of George’s artistic accolades, even though his huge paintings fascinated me. I grew up with Nina Dunbar, and I knew George as the fun dad who encouraged us to explore the great outdoors, playing with dogs, riding horses, 8
canoeing, swimming, catching insects, and all the things kids used to do. I knew when he brought home a new breed of dog, my Dad would be buying the pups before long, as well as the geese, ducks, and peacocks he bred. Nina’s dad to me was not only a cool dad, a lover of the land, but also a man with many interests that you may find surprising. There are numerous articles about his artistic and educational accomplishments. I am going to give you a portrait of the person behind the art. This is a story about the ordinary circumstances that created an extraordinary artist.
Walking up to the Dunbar house then was an adventure all its own. A circuitous path with dim lights directed our eyes to appreciate native plants. He designed the path to wind past a pond, a fountain, and finally open to a spectacular view of Bayou Bonfouca. Unfortunately, Katrina all but destroyed his modern home. Every room was designed with brick walls to create a private exterior view. Now let’s back up to the beginning. George Dunbar was born at Touro Hospital, and grew up in New Orleans. The family lived first on State Street, and later on First Street. As a boy, he loved athletics and was a natural at it. He took art, but it didn’t have a strong pull on him in school. He became captain of the football team in high school. In order to keep in shape, he rode his bike back and forth from the Garden District to Metairie to school at Country Day every day, even when they practiced until well after dark. “I remember that we always had dogs. There was one dog most people were afraid of. He belonged to a football coach at Suwanee but people kept getting bit. I agreed to take him. He was a lab named Ebony, beautiful dog. He was a little out of control, but I trained him. Dogs just need to know who is alpha. Once they learn that, you’ve got a good dog.” With that, George reached down and patted his rescue dog, Buddy.
George Dunbar, Red M, 1959, Acrylic and paper collage, 50 x 47 inches, Collection of the Artist Top: George Dunbar in his Art Studio, Slidell, Louisiana, 1997, Photograph by Will Crocker
“On weekends, I spent a lot of time in my grandmother’s house on East Beach in Pass Christian. There was a lot of land for me to explore, and I was outdoors whenever possible. I also had a lot of great times on Bayou Liberty at the Reily property, Marshdown.” George smiled as he thought about his youth. But his summers were a high point in his life. His mother, Ethelyn, was, as George described, “A perfect example of someone who overcame adversity and became stronger. She was very frail and small, but was determined to keep going, and she was a very smart woman. She and I went to New York every summer. Part of my daily routine there was going to the museums in New York. My mother would drop me off for two hours at a stretch. I really enjoyed that private time where I made my own choice as to which area interested me on any particular day. Getting to make my own decisions allowed me to discover my own taste. I found myself drawn to the contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That is where I developed my own sense of aesthetics. The pure focus on colors, shapes and textures in modern art spoke to me,” he recalled.
Straight out of high school, he asked to join World War II. His brother, Charles Dunbar, had already enlisted. But George was only 17, and parental consent was required for all entrants to the service if they were not yet 18. George relayed that, “My mother drove ambulances in World War I in her younger years, and had seen a lot of suffering and death. She would consent only if I joined the Navy as a salvage diver in Manila. We pulled up a lot of bodies and salvage, but weren’t on the front lines. The service gave me more time to think on my own,” he said. He also relayed that he swam alongside a diving barge to practice because he swam competitively for the Navy. Another thing that added to George’s independent attitude was the fact that he went to college on the GI Bill. As if to see if I got the connection, he posed, “This meant my parents weren’t as involved in my choices of study. After I returned from World War II, I got my BFA in Philadelphia at Tyler School of Art at Temple University. From there, I went to Europe, and studied at Acadamie de la Grande Chaumiére in Paris.” “By now, the center of the Modern Art movement had migrated from Paris to New York because of a strong cultural boom in the city and the popularity of abstract expressionism, which exploded there first. I would take the train into New York, and visit the galleries. Hermann Gundersheimer, one of the professors, brought slides from Germany when he escaped, so I saw imagery others hadn’t been exposed to, and it grabbed me. He took an interest in me, thinking I was a disadvantaged artist coming from the South. He taught art history all over the country, and became a mentor to me.” “Then I came back home to New Orleans, and the art professor at Tulane, John Lawrence, invited me as a guest lecturer. I became friends with Bob Helmer and we began teaching art at 331 Chartres Street. We included a lot of figure drawing, as Tulane architect students needed to keep up their drawing skills.” Smiling wryly, he leaned over and said, “I got to pick the models. We had a lot of fun, but didn’t make much money. Afterward, we would go over to Napoleon House with our students and pontificate about art,” he laughed again. “I taught during the day, and painted at night. Next, a group of us formed a co-op of artists and called it Orleans Gallery. It was on Royal Street, where The Historic New Orleans
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Collection is now. The Williams family owned it. We decided to appoint a non-artist board, which was very successful. As a fully contemporary gallery, it was the first space of its kind in this area. This made a real breakthrough for the arts in New Orleans, and we were referred to as pioneers for modern art in the South. We showed artists that became household names for the arts like Lynn Emery, Jack Hastings, and Jimmy Lamantia, John Klemmer, Marilyn Conrad, and Jean Seidenberg, and Shearly Grode. Most of them showed at the Brooklyn Museum. Later, we were joined by Ida Kohlmeyer and George Dureau. Lynn Emery and I are about the only ones left from that group,” he concluded. “Anyway, at some point, the Simone Stern Gallery opened, followed by others. The co-op gallery became less meaningful. We phased it out, and I went over to the Stern Gallery. They brought in some New York artists who showed alongside us. I continued teaching, and started showing in New York.” “After awhile, I felt the pull back to the bayou area and moved to Slidell. I met your dad, and we would drive back & forth to the New Orleans Athletic Club. Did you know it is the second oldest athletic club in America? I also met Jane, and she and your mom would meet us for dinner afterward. We would go out to eat at Martie’s on Rampart fairly often. Then Jane and I had Nina, and I realized I needed to make money.” “About this time was when Michoud was booming, and I-10 and I-12 were to be built. I foresaw that New Orleans was boxed in by the lake and the river. I started selling five-acre lots in Oaklawn in Lacombe and Magnolia Garden in Covington. I bought a piece of land on Bayou Bonfouca. Taking a cue from Pat Miramon, who had already sold land in this area and worked with me on selling a few lots, I decided to pursue developing land on the Northshore.” Being the visionary he was, George also realized investors would be willing to invest in land on the Northshore. Even if they weren’t ready to build, it would be the place where they would retire. George divulged, “I never intended to build houses, just the lots. Building houses would take too much time. The key was that we financed the property for buyers ourselves. Most banks refused to finance raw land back then, so this was the only way to make it work. I knew many families would want to experience the same magic on the bayous that I had. Our bayous are the most beautiful country, but many in Slidell and the Southshore didn’t know it existed. A lot of newcomers still don’t, humh?” he asked rhetorically. “That’s when I developed Coin Du Lestin. No matter how large or small the lots, each one had a spectacular view of their own. It took a lot of thought and redesigning, since there were over 60 lots.”
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After this, he developed Indian Village and River Oaks. With a little prodding, he allowed that, “River Oaks was my favorite development to layout. It took over two years since it was a couple of hundred acres. We had to find a new crew every couple of weeks because there were such difficult working conditions. We had to cut tupelo gums below the water level to make the canals, and the insects were relentless.” “The biggest compliment I hear about the canals I dug are ‘How well I remember this bayou,’” Dunbar laughed aloud. “I try to make it look natural, not in a straight line. The other thing I hear often is, ‘I know you designed this subdivision because all the streets are curved.” Another laugh! George
patiently disclosed that it is cheaper to put in utility poles in a straight line so they hold each other up. But that extra expense to set them on a curve also made the argument to invest in underground utilities logical. As George reasoned, “It’s not just a matter of aesthetics, but also practicality with the storms we have lately.” George finished that era of his life by revealing that, “Chamale was the only one that wasn’t financially successful. They discovered the creosote in the bayou, that devastated the area until it was cleaned up. You remember that Bayou Bonfouca became a Superfund Site, humh? I called it quits with that.” George Dunbar and his development company raised the bar of home ownership in Slidell. So many families were able to appreciate the beauty, not to mention the recreation, available only on waterfront property. How many families now have memories of growing up skiing, fishing and boating on our bayous that would not have without those available lots? All this talk had George restless. He rose, and went back to his painting. “I’m finished with the work for the Retrospective, and I can’t wait to see them all hung. My hope is that through the different series, you will still see my thumbprint. I’ve lived a long time, and it will be nice to look back over 50 years of work. The biggest compliment anyone has ever paid me was when a guest asked one of my biggest collectors about the artists’ work in his home. His answer was, ‘That’s easy. It is all the work of one artist. I buy what I love, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.’ You see, a good teacher can teach students to paint like the teacher, or like the great masters. But a great teacher knows how to bring out the unique vision in creative students.”
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Behind every series, or body of art, is an artist’s vision that comes from specific, personal experiences or concepts. Great artists are those that present their vision in such a way that each viewer is able to relate to the work from their own viewpoint, which involves another set of specific, but related, experiences. And George Dunbar is one of those artists. I do hope all of my readers will visit NOMA and see what I mean by that statement. Each person you talk to will come away with something a little different, something that relates to their point of view. Go with a group and you’ll see what I mean. There are numerous professional, insightful articles about Dunbar’s artwork in the most prestigious magazines, such as Art News, Art in America, Architectural Digest, as well as the many catalogs his galleries have produced through the decades. This includes the British Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Art Center, and the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). As you would expect, these articles focus on his artistic techniques and aesthetics, and I hope you take time to Google them. What I want to present to you is something in a different vein, the man behind the paintings, and what he has done for one small town. His passions literally changed the footprint of Slidell. He has mentored numerous art enthusiasts, artists, and has always supported worthy organizations in Slidell. As a young arts educator, George encouraged me to get involved with him in The Mayor’s Commission on the Arts, as it was named in those days. This organization has continued ever since, and grown to the vibrant organization it has become today, the Department of Cultural Arts and Public Affairs. It would not have been nearly as significant without him. He was also the vision behind our present Slidell Cultural Arts
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Center, and the Percent for Arts program. The arts organizations really had to struggle to get the latter passed. I’m happy to say it is still adhered to today. George advised the group to work with politicians as well as artists and organizations to promote our cultural heritage, earning the Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. George purported that, “One of my missions was to create a professional group of artists to act as jurors for government-funded arts purchases and commissions. It was a win-win situation. You see, the politicians wouldn’t have to feel obligated to appoint their nieces and supporters. We became a shield, so to speak, for politicians. On the flip side, professional artists and arts educators were able to bring in the strongest artists, including cutting edge works that would not necessarily have been popular with the masses, and would have put our politicians in a tight spot. The Justice Center is a good example where the public can go to see good, local art with a wide variety of styles, media and sizes.” But his efforts went far beyond Slidell. He was a huge proponent for the St. Tammany Arts Commission. As you have already heard, long before he moved to Slidell, he was a strong advocate for modern art in New Orleans. “You see I can’t stop, humh?” With that he picked up a small mop, and began working on some experimental pieces. “Lizzie and Ryan, my assistants, are indispensible, and help me so I can keep up. Louisette is very supportive, and she understands, and makes it possible for me to focus on my work.” “I like to change what I do constantly. I’ll never be one of those artists I call a ‘one-trick pony’. I also like to use materials other artists don’t use, or at least don’t use the same way. When I looked at the altars and sculptures in Mexico and the Philippines, I found their aging metal leaf surfaces very appealing.” Pointing to one of his “Marsh Grass” series, he said, “I refer to that technique as mining the surfaces. I add cotton rags, scratch through, take away and maybe add again. We use sand blasting to distress the silver and gold leaf. See, I use 22 carat, purer
Now, he and Louisette live in a combination West Indies/modernist style home that his architect, Lee Ledbetter, designed. The bayou and a canal surround three sides of the studio and house. They are poised opposite the far end of a preserved wetland. “It’s a small house with a grand scale,” George articulated. The ceilings are twelve feet with almost floor to ceiling doors and windows. The tall walls allow some of his larger paintings quite easily.
George Dunbar, Coin du Lestin, 1999, Gold leaf over red, black and mauve clay, 80 x 73 inches, Collection of the Artist
than jewelry. But I don’t want it to be shiny. The point is to make it look like it all flows together. If you squint your eyes at some paintings, certain areas might really jump out at you. You always know that was the last area the artist added to add a little punch. I don’t want that to be the case in my work.” Then he moved over to the table. He was making oversized brush marks with a small mop on waxy palette paper. Unlike the monochromatic Rouville paintings, these pieces juxtaposed bright tangerine, cherry red, and lemon colors. I could also see where cloth strips left a texture here and there. Dunbar allowed, “It stands out, but it isn’t distracting. I like the way the layers of paint appear and disappear. I love experimenting with materials you shouldn’t. Some nice things happen. Even if my experiments don’t work for me, I grow a lot. We’ll try anything, right Ryan? Not only that, but we believe in it,” Dunbar exclaimed, looking over at Ryan. “You know, I intend to die in the saddle. I will work until the very end. It’s just too much fun. I never say ‘I have to work.’ It’s just that I look forward to it. I go out to my studio every morning. I was a high-energy kid, and still have that restlessness. I don’t want to retire, ever,” he said with emphasis.
“Life changes, but this is where I want to end up. We sit and watch tremendous flocks of birds fly over, headed to Leon’s Corner. I make sure to spread corn for the mallards once hunting season begins so they can stay sheltered. Did you know, if a mallard is born here, they will stay all year? This is just magical. It’s not something you can reproduce anywhere else.” Once he had filled every long table as well as the floor in front of each table with paintings, George decided it was time to turn out the lights. “Let’s go find Louisette and have a drink on the back galley.” She brought us vodka martinis, and a silence fell for a brief moment as we breathed in the moist air. Relaxing, George motioned his arm across the scene before us. “This is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. Your parents always said that. Going up Bayou Liberty, where they lived, is one of the most beautiful trips you can ever make. I actually like the bayous more than the river vistas. This is what Louisiana is all about. No one loves the wetlands more than me. It changes constantly. Last time you came, the mongo grass was still green. Look at it now, its all grey. Then it blows away, and there’s another color. It just amazes us,” and he looked over at Louisette, and grinned. “I can truly say I’ve enjoyed every phase of my life. Why, I even enjoyed being in the service. Now, I get to paint to my heart’s content, and come out here every evening to enjoy my bayou. I still like to live in an environment where animals can survive.” He pointed out his guinea hens, ducks, the egrets, and herons. “I think it’s important to share this planet with as many species as possible. Nature is so hard to improve upon. I wish we could all appreciate it.”
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A Christmas Tradition • Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm Over the River & Through the Woods • Slidell Little Theatre • 8pm
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Jazz'n the Vines Christian Serpas & Ghost Town Ponch Vineyards • 6:30pm
Home is Where the Art Is Northshore Harbor Center 7:30-11:30pm Ticket to Ride: Karen Carpenter • Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm 25
Ticket to Ride: Karen Carpenter • Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm
Through the Years Ghosts & Ghouls • 12-1:15pm
The Odd Couple • Dinner Theater • Village Church, Lacombe Fri - Sat: Doors Open at 6:30pm
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Education Committee Meeting Chamber • 8:30am
Stop the Madness Art Exhibit • Cutting Edge Theater • 11/18 - 12/23
SAINTS VS BRONCOS • 12PM
Over the River & Through the Woods Slidell Little Theatre • 2pm
Mixed Media Art Exhibit • 10/7 - 12/23 • Slidell Art Gallery
Three Rivers Art Fest Downtown Covington
SAINTS AT 49ERS • 3:05PM
Over the River & Through the Woods Slidell Little Theatre • 2pm
The Odd Couple • Dinner Theater Village Church, Lacombe Doors Open at Noon
6 Veteran's Appreciation Luncheon • Slidell Auditorium 11am-5pm
SAINTS VS SEAHAWKS • 12PM
Antique Street Fair Olde Towne • 10am-5pm Bayou Jam Halloween Bash Vince Vance & the Valiants Heritage Park • 5-7pm
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N o v e m b e r
Storyteller DINOSAUR BONES Toby Thomas was mentally challenged. When I was ten, he must have been about sixty; but he had the mind of a ten-year-old. That is, most of the time. There were times when he seemed to reason well, and you got the feeling that tucked back in there somewhere was a spark of brilliance.
we were, and to our surprise, he told us where we could find some dinosaur bones. We laughed at him, but somehow we could tell he was serious. His story became more ridiculous when he told about a dinosaur he had seen being buried by the railroad just south of Thayer crossing. Even at our young age, we knew this was not true, but kids just seem to be fascinated with discovering something that is buried. We dug for buried treasure all over our part of the county, and even dug up Mrs. Gloverâ€™s garden in search of a rumored pot of gold.
He was comfortable with us kids, and we liked him. We thought of him as just about our age, but being that he was much older, we did give him at least some deserved respect. Looking back, I feel sorry for him. As we would age, we would hand him off to another group of youngsters who, in just a few years, would do the same.
Toby took us to the spot, and he seemed to know exactly where it was. Sure enough, it was directly beside the track, and you could tell the vegetation was slightly different in an area about 15 feet wide and 30 feet long. We began to dig.
We had read about dinosaurs in our Weekly Reader, and like most ten year olds, we were fascinated with the subject. Toby seemed to be as excited as
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We must have dug for hours and were just about to lose interest when one of our shovels hit something. It was a bone. As we continued to dig around the bone, we could tell it was a large. We unearthed a segment about 3 feet long and could tell that it continued for some distance deeper into the earth. Digging that deep was too much trouble. We took an axe and chopped the bone segment off. Three of us could barely move it. We took it to Joe’s house where we washed all the dirt off. Joe’s dad, Big Joe, told us not to tell anyone about it until he found out some way to make money with it. He said maybe we could sell it to a circus or traveling carnival. In short, he kind of took possession of it and all of us, except Joe, resented that. After all, it was our dinosaur bone. Somehow, Big Joe got a list of the circuses and carnivals and began to market our prize to them. They were all interested until he explained that a half-wit had seen the animal when it was buried. Of course, they lost interest immediately, knowing this would have been impossible. Finally, he left that part of the story out, and to our surprise, an appointment was made to view our treasure.
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We knew that if this sale was successful, there were plenty more bones where that one came from. We began to imagine how much money we would have, even if Joe’s dad kept most of it for himself.
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I imagined that the circus owner would come to inspect it, and he would be dressed in his tall hat and tuxedo - the outfit he wore under the Big Top. I was wrong. In fact, I don’t think the man who came owned the circus at all. He took a few pictures from several different angles and then offered Big Joe $100. We thought that was a good deal as we had never seen $100 before, but Joe’s dad said the offer was not even in the ballpark.
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The purchaser said he would get back with Big Joe after he’d had the photos analyzed. In just a few days, our dream crashed. The circus man informed us this was most likely a whale bone, and they were a dime a dozen. We should have taken the $100. ********** I don’t know why we were not inquisitive as to how a whale bone had been buried there, but we were not. Soon the adventure was forgotten, and in a few years, after we had outgrown him and he had been passed along to another generation, Toby passed away. The question remained. Why were whale bones in our neighborhood? If Toby was correct, why were they buried there at some point in his lifetime? The fact that he knew where to dig placed credibility to the fact that he had seen it buried. It was easy to understand how over the years, due to his simple mindedness, Toby could have gotten a whale confused with a dinosaur. That mystery would have to wait many years to be answered. The reason the bones were there is more interesting than the fact that we found them, and it was only answered by accident. I was in the library researching a story about a prominent local woman who attempted to murder her husband in 1931 when, on a microfilm of the local paper, I saw an ad, “Whale train to arrive Tuesday. Admission ten cents.”
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A hole was dug with a bulldozer, and the entire gondola car was lifted and tilted by the crane to dump the whale into its grave. Finally, a tank car filled with water was brought to wash down the car before it was allowed to pass through town. ********** I still have unanswered questions. Carnivals are not known to be the most honest businesses in the world. Why did they not take our whale bone and just tell people it was from a dinosaur? We would have at least gotten $100. Come to think of it, that bone disappeared from Joe’s house soon after we found out what it was. Maybe Big Joe got the $100 after all.
The next mention of the train was in the following Wednesday edition. It was an article whose headline read, “Whale Train Forbidden in City Limits.” The article explained that a gondola car that had a whale on it was to be sidetracked in town. For ten cents, a person could walk along a scaffold beside the car and view the creature. It was packed in ice and salt.
the ice plant was closed for equipment repair and there was no ice to keep the whale cold.
Were it not for this story, I don’t suppose I would have thought about Toby in my lifetime. It makes me sad knowing how we used him and just cast him away, much like a toy you have outgrown. I think he deserves a story of his own.
According to the article, the ice and salt had not preserved the whale very well and the odor was unbearable. City officials refused to let the train come into the city limits. To make things worse,
In the Friday issue of the paper, I learned that by the second day, even though the train car was parked a half mile south of town, the odor was so bad, many were leaving their homes and going to neighboring towns or staying with friends out in the county. Eventually, it was decided that the whale could not be saved, and the car was pushed eight miles down the track. Another train, one that had a large crane on it, pulled alongside on the parallel track.
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Restless Leg Syndrome?
here is more and more being written lately about something called Restless Leg Syndrome. Well, many people misuse this term to describe someone who can’t keep their leg still, like the guy next to you in church who keeps bouncing his knee up and down. That’s Nervous Leg Syndrome! Then there’s the condition that my 6-year-old nephew has—Restless Kid Syndrome. But Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is an actual medical condition that has a variety of different causes. The symptoms of RLS can be some of the following: pain, aching, numbness and tingling, throbbing, pulling or having a “creeping” sensation of the extremity. The symptoms can vary from one person to the next, but one thing that does not vary is the uncontrollable urge to move the leg to relieve the symptoms. For reasons that we don’t completely understand, movement of the extremity will bring about relief. Symptoms begin to worsen in the evening when people begin to rest for the day and they can become particularly prominent at night. This, of course, can cause a substantial decline in ones quality of sleep and can actually interfere with an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. RLS affects both men and women, but women are affected twice as frequently. Up to 10 percent of the adult population of the U.S. may have some degree of the problem.
A more advanced cousin of RLS is something called PLMS, Periodic Limb Movement of Sleep. In this condition, the limb movements occur repeatedly throughout the night on an involuntary basis and, of course, disrupt sleep tremendously. There are a variety of causes of Restless Leg Syndrome, many of which are very difficult to sort out. One of the most common causes however is Chronic Venous Insufficiency. Roughly 35 percent of RLS can be caused by leg vein problems. The symptoms of the two can be similar; however, they are two distinctly different entities. The good news is that diagnosing venous insufficiency is easy and something that we do every day of the week with a painless ultrasound test. Better news: treating the underlying venous disease can eliminate symptoms of RLS completely.
I’m sorry to report that as of yet there is nothing we can do for Restless Kid Syndrome but Restless Leg Syndrome can be an easy fix and a good night’s sleep may be just around the corner.
Dr. Juleff is triple board certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine, American Board of Surgery, and American Board of Thoracic Surgery. His practice, La Bella Vita Laser and Vein Center is located at 1431 Ochsner Blvd. Suite B, Covington, LA 70433. To learn more please call 985-892-2950 or visit www.labellavitavein.com
Seven Decades on Their Toes
By John N. Felsher In September 1943, with much of the world embroiled in the ugliness of war, two teenaged girls sought to bring a touch of beauty to their little part of the planet. The Giacobbe sisters – Maria, 14 and Georgie, 13 – opened a dance studio in the backyard of their parents’ supermarket on Airline Highway in Metairie. Their father agreed to the situation mainly to keep his girls from leaving home to complete their ballet training elsewhere. Sharing the instruction they had already received at an early age, the girls taught neighborhood children and others in the arts of classical ballet, tap and acrobatics. They even enlisted their little brother Joseph as one of their first students. Besides teaching, Georgie and Maria performed in USO shows for servicemen. After the war, Maria graduated cum laude from Loyola University with a BS in physical education. She also served as choreographer for many Loyola productions and taught in Orleans and Jefferson Parish schools for 17 years. Georgie raised six children. All of them danced at the academy. She died in 1974, but Maria and Joseph continue to carry on the family legacy after seven decades.
“I started studying with Maria and Georgie when I was six years old,” recalled Joseph, now 79. “I’ve been involved with dance all my life. It’s always been a family-based school. From the very beginning, our goal has always been for excellence in everything we do.”
Family continues long and graceful legacy In 1970, the academy moved into a new studio located at 6925 Veterans Blvd. in Metairie. The school teaches about 260 students at any given time. Now 87, Maria stays involved with dance instruction, helping students shape their bodies into works of art. Joseph grew up dancing in the school and began teaching while still in high school. Before long, one student in particular caught his eye, Gwen Delle Bernadas, a student in the advanced ballet class. “Gwen Delle was attending LSU and would dance at our studio in the summer,” Joseph said. “She had danced when she was young and wanted to get back into it. We just hit it off.”
They married in 1963. Gwen Delle became a principal dancer with Delta Festival Ballet and began teaching at the academy. She managed another Giacobbe Academy of Dance when it opened at 572 Robert Blvd. in Slidell in 1985. Today, the school averages about 125 students at a time. They range in age from three years old to college level. Besides ballet at all levels, the students learn jazz and tap dancing. “There was another ballet school in Slidell at the time,” Joseph remembered. “I knew the owner. Her husband transferred to Huntsville, Ala. She asked us if we would assume the school and we did. The parents of the students were calling us about opening the school. We had to look around for a studio first.” After graduating cum laude from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Joseph danced and trained in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. He and Gwen Delle toured with a flamenco company for a while. Although based out of New Orleans, the troupe danced all over the country. The Giacobbes also helped found the Delta Festival Ballet and served as its artistic directors for more than 40 years. The couple stayed together 50 years before Gwen Delle passed away in 2013 at age 73. In her life, she taught and influenced many dancers including Janie Taylor who performed with the New York City Ballet and Jerel Hilding who danced with the Joffrey Ballet.
“Over the years, we’ve trained many professional dancers,” Joseph remarked. “Some have been on Broadway or danced with the New York City Ballet. One girl won a medal in an international ballet competition and enjoyed a big career in Canada and Europe. She danced with the London Festival Ballet. Another girl was a principle dancer in Boston, but Mikhail Baryshnikov picked her to dance with him in an international touring company.”
training. When someone jumps up to catch a football, the player has to think about time and space. When a dancer lifts up a ballerina, they not only have to think about time and space, but doing it to a certain count of music.”
Although Joseph performed and danced in many places, his thoughts always returned to teaching. He enjoys the process of taking a person with limited or no skills to a point where that person can accomplish something.
Like all gifted athletes, even the best dancers reach a point in their lives when they can no longer perform at the highest level that their fans grew accustomed to seeing. Like many professional athletes, some dancers make it to their early 40s before they must give it up. After years of adulation, not everyone can handle that transition.
“I love to dance, but I love teaching people to dance better,” Joseph revealed. “I like the creative process of seeing a student develop from nothing. That’s an art in itself. There’s a real instinct to teaching and people must want to do it. Some great dancers turn to teaching, but not every great dancer will make a great teacher, just as not every great ball player will make a great coach. Teaching requires many things other than just skill as a dancer. Teachers must deal with temperamental students and their different personalities. When I was studying, I had some really good teachers. I want my own students to say the same thing about me.” A good teacher can quickly discern which students demonstrate natural talent and desire to become great dancers and those who may enjoy it, but will never progress very far. Although some students hope to reach the highest levels of professional dancing, not everyone shares that goal. Many parents enroll their children in basic dance classes to teach them to be graceful. Other students stick with the instruction just because they enjoy the exercise, the friendships or other aspects. Some people want to improve themselves or learn new skills. Many enroll in classes simply because they love to dance with no desire to perform in a professional company.
“Some professional dancers have a hard time with what I call ‘laying down the red roses,’” Joseph commented. “They reach the end of their performing careers and have a hard time making a transition to something else. Everyone reaches a point when they just can’t do it any longer at the level they have done in the past. Sometimes, the performance may look the same to the audience, but the dancers themselves know what’s happening. Some teach. Some of them become directors of dance companies, but many just go onto other things in their lives.” Ballet fans can see great dancers in action when the Delta Festival Ballet presents its 35th annual performance of the Nutcracker at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in New Orleans on Dec. 17 and 18. For information, see www.deltafestivalballet.com or call 504-888-0931. To contact the Giacobbe Academy of Dance in Slidell, see www.giacobbeacademydance.com or call 985-643-2869.
“From very early, a good teacher can tell how a student will develop,” Joseph said. “From the beginning, I promised myself that I would not give all my attention to the talented students. If a student is willing to learn, I’m willing to teach. The talented ones will catch on quickly, but it’s a great joy to watch a struggling student finally accomplish something. Some students work so hard. They show up and have a passion, but the skills don’t come easily to them. Sometimes when I work with a student like that, I learn something too. Maybe something that I had never tried before worked or the kid finally absorbed it.” Like many athletic disciplines, dancers progress through certain levels of expertise. The youngest children simply learn basic movements and how to stand up straight. As they grow in age and skill, they advance through more challenging levels until they master their craft or reach the zenith of their ability. “Dancing is very athletic and excellent exercise,” Joseph explained. “Most people who come through the studio will never have a dancing career, but what they learn will help them in life. When people who have had dance training walk into a room, even years later, they look different than most people just by the way they stand and carry themselves. Dance helps people become very conscious of their posture and alignment.” Not every student will dance professionally. In fact, few dancers reach that level, just like few little league ballplayers will ever become big league superstars. But everyone can learn grace, confidence, skill, poise, commitment and how to take care of their bodies. Some football coaches even enroll their burly players in ballet to help them with such things as flexibility, speed, balance and mental focus. “Dance is almost like a sport,” Joseph advised. “We refer to ourselves as ‘aesthetic athletes.’ The girls and guys work really hard with their
Of Your Money By Mike Rich, CFP® Pontchartrain Investment Management
Are you getting ready to retire? Consider these 10 money moves before you clock out. Just about every client I work with wants to retire someday. They’re looking forward to a time when the day is their own, clocks don’t exist, and the week is full of Saturdays. I’ve got several clients who are already in that dream state, but it didn’t happen by accident. Here are some of the things they did before they pulled the plug on working for a living:
1) They figured out how much their “overhead” was going to cost. Overhead is the money you’ll need for food, shelter, utilities, gasoline, car and homeowners insurance, medical care, and other necessities. We want to be reasonably sure that, even if the bottom drops out of the financial markets, you will be able to eat, sleep, turn on the A/C, drive around town, and take care of your health. The trip to Europe can come later. Before you retire, know this number. I can help.
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2) They made sure they could cover their overhead with guaranteed income. By guaranteed, I mean income that will never run out: pension, Social Security, money from an immediate annuity.1 There’s a lot to be said for getting a check in the mail every month.
3) They primed their emergency fund. Financial advisors pound on the table that every working family needs several months of cash on hand in case something bad happens. Guess what? Bad things happen to retired people, too, so having some cash in the bank is good when the air conditioner blows up, or some other emergency.
4) They evaluated their life insurance needs. The smart guys in the room all say that you don’t need life insurance when you are retired. You know what? They’re right. You might not need life insurance when you are old. However, you might want it because the death benefit that’s waiting for someone after you are gone could let you spend your retirement money more freely while you are alive.1 Would you like to see how it might work for you? Call me for an appointment, and let’s look at the numbers.
5) They calculated how they could get the most from Uncle Sam. S t eve Ke r n a h a n A ndy P ru d e
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You might know this already, but maybe not: for many people, there are hundreds of options for claiming your Social Security benefit, and you could risk leaving money on the table if you don’t do a deep dive to figure this out. If you don’t have a way to crunch the Social Security numbers yourself – and even if you have already made up your mind to claim your benefit early – it’s probably worth your time to meet with me to look at alternatives.
6) They got real about the potential high cost of health care in retirement. Maybe it’s just because I’m in tune with this stuff, but it seems that I see an article nearly every week about the rising cost of health care for retirees. Let’s face it: if you are retired, it probably means that you are
entering your senior years, and older folks can get sick as they age. As someone who joined Medicare in August, I can attest to the power of that government program. However, I plan on living a long time. Will Medicare pay 2016-like benefits 15 or 20 years from now? It’s impossible to say for sure, so I (and my clients) want to have a plan in place. What about you?
7) They know who is going to care for them when they are old and might not be able to care for themselves. Seven out of ten people older than 65 in this country are going to need some type of long term care before they die.2 I think it’s one of the biggest financial challenges facing baby boomers. Does it mean that most of us will end up in a nursing home? Probably not. However, a lot of us might end up needing assisted living care, or someone helping at home, or several days a week at an Alzheimer’s or memory care facility so our spouses can take a break. Wherever it is, it’s going to cost money. Many of my clients who just retired have long term care insurance, so they’ve taken care of this. What about you? If you can’t find someone to care for you for free, who is going to write checks that could be $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 a month, or more? If your answer is “I’d rather not think about it”, maybe you should, so call me for a free, no-obligation appointment.
ST E G G I B THE N O S A E S OF THE
8) They made sure their wills and other legal documents were in order.
10) They made a plan for how they will spend their time.
Every retiree needs a will and living will, and should consider giving power of attorney to a spouse, child, or trusted friend or relative for health care and other legal matters. Whether or not you need a trust to protect your assets is a conversation you might want to have with your attorney. Basic legal documents are not expensive. If you already have them in place, it’s a good idea to review them to make sure they say what you want. Speaking of…
One of my clients, who retired last year, knew exactly what he was going to do with his retirement time: work in his woodshop. He came in to the office last month to show me some pictures of his latest projects, one of which is restoring family heirloom furniture for a friend who was flooded during the Baton Rouge storm. He claims that he’s never bored and that every day is an adventure. Be like him: have something to do every day
9) They reviewed their beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, annuities, and retirement accounts. When I started in this business eight years ago, I was in a training class led by a highly experienced life insurance professional. She told a tragic story. Her husband, to whom she had been married only a year or so, died suddenly. He had not yet listed her as a beneficiary on his life insurance policy, naming his parents instead. You might be thinking that this story had a happy ending when the parents gave the money to their daughter-in-law. Guess what? They didn’t. Don’t let this tragedy happen to your family. Make sure your money goes to the people you want it to.
Retirement can be a wonderful time. For my parents, who prepared well for it, it lasted almost 30 fun-filled, financially-secure years. Are you ready to begin your retirement adventure? Let’s make sure. Call me for a complimentary appointment, and we’ll talk. I’M NOW ON THE RADIO! Listen for my ad on The Bridge Radio, 88.7FM This is a hypothetical example and is not representative of any specific situation. Your results will vary. The hypothetical rate of return used does not reflect the deduction of fees and charges inherent to investing. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
Benefits are based on the claims paying ability of the insurance company.
Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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Art exhibit created to be a catalyst for change Art direction and story by Kim Bergeron
Since the beginning of time, the arts have served as a means to document history. For visual artists, everything from the Paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux to the intricate pyramid hieroglyphics to the Renaissance arts movement through contemporary arts, the imagery artists have created enables us to learn about the customs, lifestyles, challenges and even the politics of their respective moments in history. Arts inspire us to think. To feel. To talk. And, in the case of the Stop the Madness exhibit, the hope of artists is that the works they have created will inspire audiences to see the world through others’ eyes and to contemplate diﬀerent points of view. It is only through doing so that we can spark the conversations that can lead to greater understandings, and, hopefully, become catalysts of change. As the exhibit curator, initially I contemplated whether or not this type of exhibit would compel artists to create something that, in all likelihood, isn’t exactly the type of work that collectors will purchase to display in their homes or oﬃces. It’s more about bold political and sometimes graphic statements, bringing to the forefront the things that locally, nationally and globally are in need of being addressed.
Hope by Zac McGovern
So would artists be willing to invest their time and talents knowing that such may not provide a return on that investment? The answer to that question was a resounding, “Yes,” with 16 of the area’s artists stepping out of their comfort zones to share their voices and their visions. The results of those eﬀorts will be on display in the CECA Cutting Edge Center for Arts at 767 Robert Boulevard. The exhibit opens Friday, Nov. 18, and will remain on display through Dec. 23.
Participating artists include Eneida Allison, Connie Born, Rand Carmichael, Mary Christopher, Dolores Crain, Robert Dutruch, Dennis Formento, Patricia Hart, Phil Galatas, Matt Litchliter, Gwen Losh, Zac McGovern, Rose Marie Sand, Michael Reed, Carol Wolfram and me. Illustrator Zac McGovern opted to embrace the opportunity to create a piece addressing one of the most divisive issues in recent history—the presidential election. What resulted was a work he titled Hope. “It isn’t out of the question to wonder how America arrived at the most disliked presidential candidates in U.S. history,” he said. “It has a lot to do with manic media coverage, general unrest, and an era of unparalleled OCD information gathering. This can’t be healthy for our collective psyche. “Despite my natural cynicism, I would like to add that I am positive America will survive whatever it is going through right now,” he stated. “This isn’t the end of the world. There are good Americans who are liberal, good Americans who are conservative. I would like to encourage bipartisanship with this illustration. We don’t always have to agree, but we can all compromise a little bit more.” Rose Marie Sand’s Change was created in memory of Dylan Hockley, one of the young victims of the Sandy Hook shootings on December 14, 2012. Dylan was an autistic child, and his parents have established Dylan’s Wings of Change, a foundation that honors the memory of their son and helps children with autism and other related conditions achieve their full potential. “The universally recognizable yin yang symbol illustrates how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary,
Matt Litchliter called the possibility of being part of an issued-based exhibit “a rare opportunity to invite viewers to derive their own narratives and stories” in response to his work. In Title Redacted, his intent is to showcase the story of our government, media and politically correct culture and their roles in removing, redacting and reframing America. “What results is a lack of oﬀensive materials, no history, just a remaining, homogenized ‘pure nothing’ for a new America to rebuild,” he says. “The point of this artwork is to show that we contort our views with our personal biases and jump to conclusions not knowing the entire stories.” Feminism is one of the issues Dolores Crain has chosen to address. Her work, A Girl is a Gun, presents a stock character of the girl as a femme fatale indicating she should think of rejecting motherhood and all the consequences represented by the boots that could follow. “For me, art is not about making a living,” she says. “Art is making life more bearable. Art is love that loves me back. Art is an idea…an idea is feeling with roots.” Poet Dennis Formento and his wife, artist Patricia Hart, collaborated on a work for this exhibit titled Life in Balance.
A Girl Is A Gun by Dolores Crain
“Through a series of rhetorical questions, the poets echo the words of the ancient Egyptian
The issue of censorship is a topic that Michael Reed has chosen to present though his work titled Censored in St. Tammany. “Since I started entering art shows in 2003, almost every prospectus I’ve seen has prohibited nudes. As an artist, this limits me and my ideas,” says Michael. “St. Tammany Parish sits next to New Orleans, a cultural mecca, yet the bulk of the art produced here consists of landscapes and such. As a trained artist that oﬀends me.” As the curator, I chose to address the madness by focusing on peacemakers. The lyrics of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance,” resonate in a world that desperately needs more of such. I’ve also depicted the individual that many consider one of the greatest peacemakers and changemakers of all times, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with messages from his “I Have a Dream” speech. His calls for responding to struggles with dignity and discipline, cautioning against allowing protests to degenerate into physical violence, are a powerful message that needs to be revisited–it’s the antithesis of some of the violence we are seeing taking place around the nation. Dr. King believed that such was not the answer, and his teachings and his eﬀorts did, indeed, change the world. His was one voice that became many, one peaceful demonstration at a time. In all, nearly two dozen works representing a diverse array of topics and issues will be presented in Stop the Madness. Additional works include Rand Carmichael’s Under New Management addressing potential foreign threats, Phil Galatas’ Crossing Out History Confederate ﬂag guitar, focusing on the historic meaning of the symbol, Connie Born’s celebration of music as a means to inspire peace, Carol Wolfram’s take on panhandling, and Eneida Allison’s and Robert Dutruch’s graphic photography addressing crime and consequences. Each work is designed to give us pause for reﬂection. Perhaps the title of Gwen Losh’s work sums it all up best. It is, simply, Behave!
Collectively, the exhibit shows us that art isn’t always about creating something pretty. Many of the topics addressed are sensitive in nature and diﬃcult to address, but what we cannot do is bury our heads in the sand and pretend like they don’t exist. We can’t ﬁx the problems until we have intelligent discussions to work toward peaceful, uniﬁed resolutions. Each of the participating artists is to be applauded for their willingness to address the topics presented. It is their hopes that their individual opinions, as expressed through their works, can spark those critical conversations. It is only then that changes can begin. This exhibit is presented by the East St. Tammany Cultural Economy Coalition. The mission of the CEC is to facilitate growth, development and increased awareness of the cultural economy and its impact by focusing on coalition building, public policy, business support, outreach, advocacy and arts education. The organization is open to artists of all genres, arts organizations and businesses that contribute to the cultural economy. For more information, follow the organization on Facebook at ESTCulturalEconomyCoalition. We extend our gratitude to CECA Cutting Edge Center for the Arts’ proprietors Brian Fontenot and Richard Fuentes for hosting this exhibit.
Change by Rose Marie Sand
Artist Mary Christopher’s Trickle Down Theory is a mixed media piece depicting the 49 victims who were murdered in Orlando on June 12, 2016, bringing to the forefront the 2004 Congressional decision not to renew the 1994 ban of semiautomatic weapons in the United States. It was an action that may have paved the way to shootings in San Bernardino, Aurora, Newtown, Baton Rouge and Dallas.
notion of passage through a labyrinth to enter the afterlife,” says Dennis. “To get there, the goddess Ma’at must weigh the heart of the deceased against a feather. Those who don’t pass muster get devoured by the dog, Ammut. The message is that someone who carries his or her own weight in life and looks out for other people, who considers the eﬀects of today’s choices in the seventh generation (after Native American thinking,) passes over. So a good life is deﬁned through a series of questions. We think that if this ethic were followed, we (collectively) might Stop The Madness.”
Title Redacted by Ma� Litchliter
interconnected and interdependent in the natural world,” says Rose. “The stained glass yin yang is made from two hands–one black and one white. This piece represents the change needed for rebirth to relate to one another peacefully.”
AT A GLANCE STOP THE MADNESS ART EXHIBIT Hosted in the CECA Cutting Edge Center for the Arts, 767 Robert Boulevard in Slidell, Nov. 18 - Dec. 23, 2016. Free admission. OPENING RECEPTION Friday, Nov. 18, 5 - 7:30 p.m. Featuring gourmet fare from Chef Christopher and Karen Case’s “Olde School Eats” food truck for a nominal charge. VIEWING HOURS Wednesday and Thursdays 9 am - 6 pm, Fridays 9 am - 1 pm, and Saturdays 8 am 4 pm, plus 6 - 7 pm prior to events in Cutting Edge Theater. CUTTING EDGE THEATER EVENTS Concurrent events held in the Cutting Edge Theater are ticketed, with event schedules and tickets available online at www.CuttingEdgeTheater.com.
COAST & STARC Story & Photos by Donna Bush
What do you know about them?
When I was assigned to write an article about COAST (Council on Aging St. Tammany Parish) and STARC (Services – Training – Advocacy – Resources – Community), I felt a bit overwhelmed. I thought, what do I know about either of these organizations? And I realized, I know very little. Sure, I’ve seen the COAST transportation buses around town and I’ve seen STARC notecards in the Marketplace and workers around town. I thought both were really cool organizations, but I admit, I took them for granted. Maybe you do too. In December, voters will have the chance to approve a small tax millage renewal being used to deliver essential services that sustain and improve the lives of community members who are seniors or are developmentally disabled. I know what you are thinking, “More taxes. More people wanting my hard-earned money.” But wait! This is just a renewal of an existing millage, nothing more. They’re not asking for any more money, even though they should. Both organizations have waiting lists for every service they offer. And there are TONS of services!
These services are delivered by COAST and STARC, who have proven track records in efficient and effective use of the funds generated by the millage. This tax helps seniors and persons with developmental disabilities in our community lead more meaningful, healthier and more dignified lives by assuring they have safe and secure place to live independently and to work, so they can enjoy the high quality of life we all have in St. Tammany Parish. Allow me to tell you more about these two valuable organizations, whose motto is “Together to Serve the Community.”
Since I will soon turn 60, I’m going to start with COAST. Most of COAST’s services require you to be 60. However, the transportation system, which is in partnership with the St. Tammany Parish Government, is available to everyone in the parish. If you are 60+ the service is free from 7am – 2:30pm Monday – Friday. Half fare is required for seniors at other times. All vehicles are handicap accessible and lift-equipped. You must reserve a spot. Door to door service is provided! WOW! It’s a convenient ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, clothes shopping, haircuts, and transportation to 5 of the 7 senior centers. Speaking of senior centers, they are located in Bush, Covington, Folsom, Lacombe, Pearl River, Mandeville and Slidell. Convenient to all with lots to offer. Lunch is provided five days a week. Again, you need to reserve a lunch by calling the center nearest you. If you are homebound, five frozen meals can be delivered to your home at the beginning of each week. The centers offer a variety of activities with a common theme of social interaction and well-being. Some of the various activities may include exercise, health screenings, bingo, card games, billiards, ping-pong, holiday socials, computers and a wealth of educational programs. Exercise can be anything from dancing, yoga, noodle ball, or washer pitch, which I learned is often called “Redneck Horseshoes”! I don’t think I need to tell you how important it is to keep active as we age – both physically and mentally. On the day of my visit, lunchtime at the Slidell center offered a 2-piece band playing all of our favorites with participants dancing, while others played cards, ping-pong or shot pool. Guest Shirley said, “I’ve been coming for four years to make new friends, have fun, play bingo and dance.” Jackson tells me, “My daughter encouraged me to come. Now I visit every day at lunchtime where I join my best friend, Paul.” I was lucky enough to visit other centers during Active Aging Week. In Covington, partakers enjoyed a presentation by Kim McDonnel on actively aging, encouraging all to move daily. Following was a trivia game called ‘Older than Dirt’, then a rousing game of washer pitch and a second line. I do believe we had some prior professional dancers in the crowd! I also attended a Saints tailgate party in Lacombe for the Falcons game. There was a football toss, which led me to think we have some former football players living in Lacombe! Participants enjoyed tailgate snacks and decorated a Saints tree with individually made fleurde-lis and footballs. And, of course, a second line with a Saints umbrella! One thing that scares most people about growing older is losing their independence. COAST helps seniors age in their own home independently, offering in-home services that can include light housekeeping, lawn care, and personal assistance with bathing, dressing, etc. Each senior is unique and his or her needs are
assessed uniquely. One individual might be able to cook their own meals and clean their house, but not be able to cut their grass with a 100+ heat index. COAST addresses such needs. How neat is that? As someone approaching the big 6-0, I think a lot about being able to maintain my independence. Now, I know COAST is here, ready and able to assist.
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Out of the 54,000 seniors in St. Tammany Parish, 2700 per year are provided some service by COAST. It might be a one-time emergency utility assistance or someone recovering from knee surgery or it might be regular inhome care and/or nutrition assistance. Per Executive Director, Julie Agan, “Most of the seniors in St. Tammany don’t need us today, but if they need us down the road, we really want to be here for them.” STARC STARC was formed in 1972 by Laura Delaup, mother of Heaven, to support her daughter and other children with developmental disABILITIES. When first organized to support 3 children, donated space at Bethany Lutheran Church was utilized. As the mission grew and began offering support to adults as well as children, First United Methodist donated an entire wing for usage. When they quickly outgrew this space, Mr. and Mrs. Pete Pravata donated property on St. Anne Street in the Carolyn Park subdivision in Slidell. The community bound together to build the facility and completely underwrite every aspect of the building. Per Executive Director Dianne Baham, “Since 1973, this Slidell facility has been the birthplace for every program that STARC operates today.” STARC’s motto is, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, I will do, by the grace of God, to the best of my ability.” Author unknown.
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54 million Americans have at least one disABILITY. One out of every six children in the United States has at least one disABILITY. An estimated 30,770 individuals aged five and older living in St. Tammany Parish has at least one disABILITY. These are staggering numbers! 30,770 in our parish! I can’t really wrap my head around this. I’m astounded.
This includes a wide range of conditions, mental and physical, as well as all age groups, birth to death. STARC serves over 1000 individuals and their families at any given time, providing programs for all ages. I only have room to tell you about a couple of their numerous services. My favorite, and I think the most innovative, is the Noah’s ARC Child Development Center. It integrates abled and disABLED children ages 6 weeks to 5 years in an inclusive environment with a full range of educational and developmental services. I watched children playing together on the playground unaware that their playmate had Down’s Syndrome or that their best friend has a hearing impairment. Children can grow up together, side by side, and everyone is ‘normal’, no difference from one child to the other. Wouldn’t our world be a better place if we could all see only the good in each other, only the ABILITIES in each of us? There are currently over 50 children in this program with a long waiting list. A friend of mine shared how much Noah’s ARC meant to her family when her 18-month old child born with spina bifada was turned down by every daycare that she approached. Both she and her husband had to work and they desperately needed childcare. Noah’s ARC was the lifesaver they needed and made a huge difference in their life for the 3 ½ years that their child was in the program. Treated with dignity and able to be socially active with peers, while in a learning environment, was a dream come true.
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During my tour I saw infants sleeping peacefully in their cribs watched over by caring attendants. One attendant, Miss Rita, lost everything during the March and August floods in Ponchatoula and found her ‘peace’ in coming to STARC and rocking the babies. I met numerous STARC employees and volunteers and the consistent theme throughout was their love for what they do. Dianne said it so well when she told me, “It’s a ministry. Our folks come here to work and they stay. Some have been here 15, 20, 25, 40 years. They come and they stay because they are passionate about what they do.” My other favorite program offered by STARC is the group residential homes where members can live together homogeneously and learn skills to function on their own, whether this is independently, in a group setting 33
with peers or with their family. I toured Potter’s Clay, fondly called ‘The House of Love and Laughter.’ It is a residential home to eight ladies and I saw firsthand how they live and commune with each other. Each of the eight has their own room or share with a roommate. They are able to decorate their room however they choose. Heaven and Lisa are two of the three original clients that STARC was founded for, who now share a room. Currently in their forties, they lived with family for many years, but their needs are now such that the group home is more suitable. Each individual does their part to the level of their disABILITY to take care of the home. Assistance with the activities of daily living, socialization, community
access and health care are provided. A huge recreation room offers a place to play the piano and dance. Frequently individuals from the other residences will come to Potter’s Clay for sleepovers, complete with popcorn and brownies. A huge fenced yard affords a location for resident’s families to attend an annual social outing. Erin, one of the residents, reads to the children in daycare each week and they all enjoy the experience. An employee shared the story of a young man with Down’s Syndrome that surprised his Dad by cooking breakfast for himself during a family visit. The residential homes allow the residents the opportunity to be as independent as they are able, and this is beneficial to everyone.
STARC offers three group residential homes, providing housing for 27 individuals, with another home slotted to open July of next year to house 8 men. Trained, qualified staff is on site 24 hours per day / 365 days per year. What is the most utilized service? Per Dianne, “Of course early intervention is crucial, but as the individual grows and ages, the programs they are involved in each serve to enrich and enhance their lives. Respite or ‘a gift of time’ which gives a caregiver a needed break or help in an emergency, is invaluable and so greatly appreciated. In-home services allow a family the support they need so their loved one can remain in their home. Work training programs and supported employment have changed the lives of our special citizens and the lives of everyone that works with or alongside of them. Our daycare is integrated. Daycare for both children and adults is truly needed and beneficial for all. Spiritually, it is so refreshing to see that no matter how limited a person may be, God’s Holy Spirit isn’t.” What is the most important service? “Whatever someone needs at that time.” Recently, United Way defunded the STARC daycare. This was a loss of $40,000 overnight with no warning! As I stated earlier, both of these wonderful organizations have long waitlists for every one of the valuable services that they offer. Without the millage renewal, those waitlists will grow and services / programs will be lost. It is critical that this millage be renewed.
Per Julie with COAST, “ We work really hard at COAST to provide seniors with the
THE MILLAGE RENEWAL FOR STARC AND COAST
help they need to be socially engaged and maintain their independence. The need is much greater than we can answer. It grows daily. We are constantly trying to figure out how to do more with less.” Per Dianne with STARC, “I want the residents of St. Tammany to know that STARC is committed to providing a lifetime of services through Services, Training, Advocacy, Resources and Community connections and we consider it a privilege to serve every individual that the Lord entrusts to us as we seek to be an extension of His hand in this work and ministry. STARC believes that people are more alike than different (and as each of us age, we see that reality) and STARC chooses to always focus on ABILITIES rather than disABILITIES. We never want to fail to see the beauty of a rose despite its thorns and we never want to fail to see the ABILITY of any person that God has created - despite any disABILITIES that they may have. The individuals that we are honored to serve are living longer - only because their lives have been enriched and enhanced - thanks to the investment that the citizens of St. Tammany Parish
VOTE YES! PROPOSITION (TAX RENEWAL) Shall the Parish of St. Tammany, State of Louisiana (the “Parish”), levy a two (2) mills tax on all the property subject to taxation in the Parish (an estimated $3,930,691 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the Tax for an entire year), for a period often (10) years, beginning with the year 2019 and ending with the year 2028, for programs of social welfare with the avails to be dedicated as follows: (i) 50% for the purpose of providing funds for acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining and operating authorized activities, services, programs and/or facilities of and for the St. Tammany Parish Council on Aging, and (ii) 50% for the purpose of providing funds for acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining and operating authorized activities, services, programs and/or facilities for individuals with mental retardation and/or disabled persons in the Parish.
have chosen to make in their lives through support of a shared millage (2 mils) between STARC and COAST that has helped us to maintain critical and meaningful services despite ongoing budget cuts. THANK YOU.” My visit to both COAST and STARC touched my heart in more ways than my words can convey. I beg each and every one of you to PLEASE vote YES to the tax millage renewal on December 10th and encourage everyone you know to do the same.
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I will never forget my first foray into football. The fast track to being cool in junior high was to play football. The camaraderie was genuine, the atmosphere was exciting, and the adrenaline from hitting another guy was incredible. There was only one problem, though. I had no idea what I was doing. At the time, I thought, rulesschmulz, just give me something to hit. I didn’t know about downs, or yards, or even knew who the quarterbacks, running backs, and linebackers were. All I knew is that the crunch of pads hitting pads was invigorating. I remember slamming into another person, a teammate slapping my shoulder pads, and smashing my helmet against another’s helmet, and taking it all like it was nothing. Almost like I was invincible on the field. At least, I felt that way until I tore a ligament in my knee freshman year of high school. After that, I hung up my cleats. I will never forget that the padding I wore brought a whole level of coolness that I had never experienced before. Padding is so important to the game of football, and has evolved a lot over
the years. From leather helmets to plastic shells, things have changed a lot since Princeton and Rutgers played the first college football game in 1869. Safety is so important now that safety efforts have evolved beyond equipment and have focused on rule changes. But none of that would matter without the evolution of safety gear. When the first college football games started in the United States, there was no serious regulation of equipment. The game had evolved from rugby and, as a result, players wore little protective equipment. It wasn’t until the 1890’s that head protection began to make an appearance, becoming mandatory in 1939. Before it was mandatory, you would see a few guys with helmets and others without. Kinda weird to think about that now, what with the rules we have that maintain the consistency of equipment for all players to sustain competitive balance. Just a few years later, Ridell patented the plastic football helmet, and the rest is history. While plastic was at first hard to come by, it spelled the end of the leather
helmets in football. Helmets are so hard now that they are an extra weapon for players on the field. Because of this, now rules are created to protect players FROM each others’ helmets. Because of the devastating hits players can deliver with their helmets, helmet-to-helmet hits and concussions are big buzzwords. And while you may hate those penalties for hits leading with the helmet, we can’t go backwards. These rules need to be as hard as they are now. But this is a good example of how safety goes beyond what we wear, it has to cover what players do too. Shoulder pads had a similar but much more transformative beginning. A college student by the name of L.P. Smock invented the first shoulder pads, which were LITERALLY shoulder pads sewn into the jersey. As the game progressed, harnessed shoulder pads, similar to what we see today, were developed at the turn of the century, and evolved into the plastic shells players wear now by the 60s and 70s. Shoulder pads have evolved to be more safety-efficient, allow better
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movement, and weigh less. And are much more compact. Thank goodness, because it looked like these players were wearing houses on their shoulders. Seriously, it was a wonder they were able to get through doorways. Shoulder pads, like jerseys, are something that players can grab and use. While it wasn’t an issue when shoulder pads were first worn, the horse-collar tackle started becoming a big problem 10 or so years ago. The popularity, and rising injuries, from the tackle resulted in the creation of a penalty for a horse-collar tackle, which is pulling down on the back of the collar of an opponent’s shoulder pads in order to pull his feet from underneath him. Before this penalty was implemented, leg injuries were a big time problem when someone got horse-collared. Again, another instance where safety has evolved beyond the equipment players wear and focused on how they play. In the world of protective gear, at the start of college football, facemasks weren’t really that important. Most guys just attached whatever they could make that might protect their faces, mostly their noses. Most wore some very…what’s the opposite of flattering?...unflattering nose guards. It wasn’t until 1953 that the first purpose-manufactured mask was made for Cleveland Quarterback Otto Graham. His mask had a Lucite shield, which sounded impressive to me, until I heard it shattered on impact. Yeah, that first model didn’t do so well. I’m pretty sure a quarterback needs to be able to see his receivers, not risk a shard cutting his retina. The next generation of facemasks introduced a single metal bar across the helmet, and then another, and then another, until you get what we see today. Of course, it didn’t take long for players to start grabbing onto those new handlebars to pull a player to the ground. Face mask penalties are so prevalent and so frustrating for fans at home, and have been for years. And will be for many years to come. It should be an easy penalty to avoid and can be so dangerous for the player being facemasked. It is hard to govern behavior on the field, despite the safety gear in place to protect players. It’s easy to see that innovation in football padding design has allowed for a safer game. Athletes’ careers are longer and they have a better life after the game. Football has come a long way from when Theodore Roosevelt considered banning the game entirely. He was concerned that the number and severity of injuries were alarming. Now, player safety is of the utmost concern. So much so, that rules are now the most innovative way to keep players safe. Defenseless receivers, chop blocks, disqualification for unsportsmanlike conduct, crown of helmet hits, and where to hit the quarterback have become so important in the last couple of years, and they all play a part in player safety in one way or another. But rule changes would be the least of our worries if companies like Ridell hadn’t taken it upon themselves to make the game safer to play. When the game is over and players retire, by choice or by force, the quality of life that they have will be totally dependent on how their careers progressed, for better or for worse. Their future lives and well-being will be largely dependent on the injuries they sustained on the field, and how they are able to deal with them even after they stopped playing. Rule changes can help to curb behavior on the field, but changing behavior is not enough. We have seen how important padding can be for football players. I can tell you from experience that I would not have enjoyed the game as much as I did if I didn’t have the padding to protect me. So on Saturdays, Sundays, and Monday nights, take a moment and look at the padding players wear. And try to appreciate how each hit could be so much worse without that padding!
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“THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING” There are many things to be thankful for this month as Thanksgiving approaches. One of them is DEFINITELY NOT receiving a letter from your child’s class. The one that informs you about the latest class bully incident. That little bastard that spreads like wildfire to every child with a head. And at least one strand of hair. That four letter word that no one wants to talk about. I’ll spell it out for you.
L-I-C-E. And it B-L-O-W-S. A BIG ONE. It’s only a matter of days before your kid comes home with that nasty little bully bastard bug too. The teacher will let you know by scotch taping over one of them on a note that might as well read, “Go ahead and drive to the store for 6 bottles of wine. And a therapist.” If you haven’t had the pleasure of walking down this road of insanity, then I will be more than happy to give you some advice. It’s the least I can do.
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have 5 people in your family, then all 5 of you probably have it. Sorry. Go ahead and check if it makes you feel better. Don’t go with the generic shampoo, I’m convinced the ingredients are just water, and more lice. Also, avoid the “package deal” boxes, they are more money and only have a plastic comb (about as useless as an ejection seat in a helicopter). You will need a METAL comb. If you DO have money to throw away, then go ahead and splurge on one of those electronic lice combs that detects if bugs are present. Warning though, the beeping sound will steal the part of your soul that the lice left behind. Go ahead and get those 6 bottles of wine too. The last four items you will need are lice spray for upholstery, tea tree oil, olive oil, and some shower caps. Step 1: Drink one of the bottles of wine and chase it down with the second bottle, a Xanex, and some crack rock. Step 2: Line everyone up in the backyard by the hose. Wash each of their heads with a bottle of the shampoo. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse. Step 3: Make a mixture of olive oil and a few drops of the tea tree oil. Saturate hair. Put a shower cap on each of them. If you forgot to pick the caps up at the store, plastic wrap will work just fine, just tie a towel or doo rag over it so it doesn’t drip everywhere. Step 4: Make them play outside for a couple of hours within the backyard Fence of Shame while you do your hair in the warm shower. My husband is bald, so I’ve never had to work him into the equation. But don’t let this be his excuse to not help. Husbands may play stupid, but they are completely capable of learning the art of lice murder. Hell, grab the 3rd bottle of wine and make it a date night. Step 5: Have your husband strip all the beds, remove cushion covers, grab clothes… basically, anything that is fabric and can be thrown in a scalding hot washing machine. He will then need to spray the upholstery down with the spray. Couches, chairs, mattresses and the neighborhood children that knock on the door to play. Anything that you/they can live without... say, the 100 stuffed animals... throw in a plastic trash bag, tie it, and put it in the garage for two weeks. You can even
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accidently put them outside by the trashcans. Your call. Step 6: Don’t forget to wash book bags and spray car upholstery. Are we having fun yet?? Step 7: Stop scratching your head. Step 9: After the 2 hours are up, get the metal comb, some tequila, a shot glass, and some lime wedges. Turn on some music and set aside about 3 more hours. SHIT’S ABOUT TO GET REAL. Step 8 (because I skipped it): Add tequila to your list. Step 10: During this step, you will master a new art skill. Combing out the dead lice, eggs, and nits. Pay close attention. This step is the most crucial. First, drink the tequila out of the bottle. Then, pick up the shot glass and throw it at a brick wall. Walk on the broken glass with bare feet while squeezing the lime juice into a 40
puddle on the ground. Step in the lime juice. Scream the words, “I FEEL NO PAIN!” and “NOTHING WILL BREAK ME!” Step 11: Now that I have taken any pain away from your combing arm, and toughened you up enough for the tedious task of combing out eggs and nits... that hopefully do not match the color of your child’s hair.... and, if not found, will only hatch and produce more lice... let me add one more little bit of information. You have to comb every day for three weeks. Yep.
to the scalp as they will let you. If you have a daughter with long thick hair, you can shave her head too. She probably won’t like it. But you can. I always thought that dirty people got lice. And well, I’m sure they do. But the more you wash the oils from your child’s hair, the better the lice can swing like Tarzan. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to their shampoo and only wash their hair 2 or 3 times a week. Also, tell them to quit feeling the need to put their heads on other kids’ heads.
If you don’t, you will be repeating all of this over again. Just make sure you use the olive oil and tea tree oil each time you comb. And A LOT of patience.
If we work together in our community, we can minimize the insanity, the liver failure, and the spread of this soul stealing epidemic. So give ‘em hell Slidell!
Bonus info: If you have boys, the combing isn’t so bad. Even better, you can shave their heads as close
By the way, there are 3 bottles of wine left.
Dr. Jason Parker 2330 E GAUSE BLVD FOR APPOINTMENTS
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by Jeff Perret, DVM
MIKE THE TIGER
Trifexis (spinosad+ milbemycin oxime) TM
As practically everyone in Louisiana must know by now, LSU, and indeed the entire state, suffered a heart-breaking loss recently when Mike VI, LSU’s live tiger mascot, passed away on October 11, 2016. He’d been diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer not previously reported in tigers, in the bones on the right side of his face in June. His care team at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (my alma mater) hoped that high-tech radiation therapy at Baton Rouge’s Mary Byrd Perkins Cancer Center would give Mike another good year or two of quality life on campus. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Despite a good initial response, the cancer began to grow again just a few months after the radiation treatment. On October 6, Dr. David Baker, Mike’s primary veterinarian at the Vet School, announced that the recurrence of his cancer would likely mean that Mike had a month or two to live. Just six days later, Mike was humanely euthanized to prevent further suffering. I’ve had more than a casual interest in Mike’s condition since his diagnosis was made public. In 1988, as a third-year veterinary medical student, I was fortunate enough to land the job of student caretaker for Mike IV. I fed Mike daily, cleaned up after him, did general maintenance on his habitat and swimming pool, and took him to home football games in Tiger Stadium. Back then, as is still true today, there was no better student job anywhere on campus. The athletic department actually paid me to take care of the one and only Mike the Tiger!
Dr. Jeff and Dr. Tim Paladino with Mike V
In 1990, I was again in the right place at the right time, when Dr. Sheldon Bivin, one of my professors and Mike’s veterinarian at the time, made the decision that an aging Mike IV was ready for retirement from the rigors of life on campus and the duties of an LSU mascot. A
Dr. Jeff recommends using:
(spinosad+ milbemycin oxime)
GIVE THANKS WITH NO FLEAS. 42
Help prevent heartworms, kill fleas, and take care of worms.
young cub was brought in who would eventually become Mike V. While arrangements were being made for a new home for Mike IV at the Baton Rouge Zoo, Mike V was kept at the Vet School, waiting patiently for a vacancy at his new home on campus. For several months, I had two LSU Tigers to care for, young Mike V and aging Mike IV. Finally, in April 1990, just before I graduated, Mike V was brought onto campus and introduced to the public, and Mike IV was retired to the zoo. Five years later, in 1995, I heard the news that Mike IV had finally passed away at the Baton Rouge Zoo at the nearly unheard-of age of 20 years and 9 months. Then in 2007, Mike V, who was still a cub, able to be leash-walked to baseball and basketball games when I graduated and handed him over to my successor, had died of complications from a surgery to treat a condition in his chest. Enter Mike VI. Now, here we are in 2016, mourning the passing of the most recent beloved LSU mascot. I’ve followed his diagnosis and treatment closely, and was of course saddened by the rather sudden turn of events. Despite objections from some alumni, and letters of protest from PETA, Dr. Baker has confirmed that the search is on for Mike VII. Those who don’t want another live tiger mascot on campus at LSU seem to be in the minority, though. As for me, I can’t imagine the space between Tiger Stadium and the Maravich Assembly Center, where a stateof-the-art habitat sits empty, awaiting its next occupant, serving any other purpose. Here’s to all of LSU’s Mikes, Mike VI watches the game from his trailer on the field at Tiger Stadium. past and future.
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Reader’s Submission A Thanksgiving Letter to my Children by Sam Caruso, Jr.
Kendra asked me to write a Thanksgiving “feel good” story for the magazine, something that would help ease the tensions from the maelstrom of the November elections. She said she loved reading my Facebook posts about my family, and in particular, my relationship with my kids. Now, we all know those people who go on and on about the feats their kids perform. They post photos and art work, and even pictures of the latest adventures in the kitchen…Wait, I am that guy. Why would anyone want to read what I have to say about my kids? I take biased to a new level. It seems Kendra was most interested in my perspective on family, and the importance of family. Specifically, where in our lives should family fit in, and how should we reflect on this topic as we approach Thanksgiving. Thanks, Kendra. I can work with that. If you follow me on Facebook you know that I adore my children. I have two daughters, 11 and 9, and a fiveyear-old son. Of course, like many of you, I happen to believe my kids are the cutest, smartest and funniest kids I know. They certainly keep my wife and me entertained, and very busy. In keeping with Kendra’s request, I do have a few things I want to say about kids and Thanksgiving, so I decided to write a letter to my children. 44
To My Dear Children, I never really felt grown up until I held my first born. All of the sudden, it was all so real. Everything I was doing was for somebody other than me. Your mom and I were parents, and the feeling of responsibility was a bit overwhelming. Then, a few short months after our journey into parenthood began our world was rocked by Hurricane Katrina. Ariana, you were just seven months old. Our home had seven feet of water in it, and the raised foundation cracked in half, a total loss. What a way to start this thing called family life. In fact, well, it was a great way to start out family life. Nothing tests a marriage and a family like tragedy. We rebuilt our home, albeit four years later, and we started on a new journey of love and respect and appreciation for people more than material goods. We learned to see the good in other people. We learned to never forget that we have no idea what the person next to us is going through. We learned almost overnight that when every material thing you have is taken from you and everyone else around you, there can be no denying that we are all equal. The vulnerability that Katrina showed every victim looked a lot like the vulnerability of a new born baby. Scared, naked, hungry, and that feeling of aloneness despite being surrounded by love. These feelings still come up in me quite often. They remind me of how important it is to teach each of you children
to respect others as equals, treat others as you want to be treated, remember that everybody has a story, and never forget that tomorrow everything you think is valuable can be taken from you, leaving you like that new born baby in an instant. I know this may sound odd, but it is the memories of Katrina, the emotions that still run strong in me, and the way all of that changed the way I view everyone around me for which I am most thankful as I sit down to write this. Kids, as we come up on Thanksgiving this year, I want you to know what I am thankful for and I want you to try to remember to look for these things in your own life. It is my memory of looking at that brand new baby, a few months old, wearing other people’s clothes, sleeping in a crib that belonged to somebody else, eating food that was brought to us via a Red Cross truck, yet having a smile as big as a house and eyes as bright as the sun that reminds me of how insignificant most of the things we consider significant really are. So, my children here is my perhaps unconventional list of things I am thankful for, in no particular order: Faith that I/we can get through anything Whether your faith is in God, a higher power, humanity or your own strength, faith that people will come through is critical to your success and happiness in life. When I was a young man my mother told me, “Son, all your life, you have had little things happen to you, and you always land on your feet. Remember,
you always will.” It was true. I was an accident prone kid, with asthma and much more energy than coordination. I lost count of the stitches I had and the injuries that sidelined me, but somehow, I never stayed down. Today, having been through far worse experiences, I have gained faith, that I will indeed, always land on my feet. I see this trait in each of the three of you, and for that I am very thankful.
GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF HEALTH
People I believe in the inherit goodness of mankind. When pushed to the limit, humanity will come through. In the three of you I see the best humanity has to offer. You each have wonderful can-do spirits. You are good people. You already do, and will continue to make this world a better place. You are already learning the value of choosing wisely when it comes to friends. Find people who, like you, believe in fairness, equality and turning challenges into opportunities. We can learn from every single person we ever encounter. Be thankful for all people. Challenges Nothing makes us stronger than a challenge we would never choose for ourselves. When challenged with things beyond our normal limits we will forget our differences, focus on what makes us the same and help each other get through. You each take on challenges, even when at first you have serious doubt. I get joy out of watching each of you overcome the little and big things that come along. Gratitude Nothing makes me more proud than when I hear you give somebody who has been kind to you a heartfelt “thank you.” Sometimes I am not grateful enough, but you often remind me of how important it is to show gratitude in all things. Always remember that nothing has to be given to you. You are not owed anything. So, when things are given to you, be thankful. Then, more importantly, pay it forward. Giving I love your mother with all my heart. She is my rock, my strength, my biggest critic and my best friend. One thing your mother does better than anybody I know is “give” of herself to others. I am so thankful for the giving spirit she brings to our family, and that each of you has learned so well from her. Whether it is helping the hungry, organizing celebrations for those who are a bit outcast from the popular crowd or just taking care of a family going through a rough time, your giving nature already shines through. I am thankful for all those who gave so generously to us when we needed it, and I am thankful that our family, led by your mom, has made this a corner stone of what we are all about. Talent Whether it is great intellect, an ability to read way beyond your years, athletic skills, musical skills, art or any other talent, be thankful every day for it. More than that, cultivate it. I have only a few regrets in my life, kids. One is that I did not appreciate my own talent for music enough to cultivate it to the best of my ability. So, when you find your special talent, work at it. Recognize that the talents we are given at birth are just seeds. Remember that average talent combined with hard work beats high levels of talent combined with minimal effort any day. Each of you already exhibits exceptional talent in one or more areas. Be thankful for that ability, accept it as a gift and cultivate it to the best of your ability. You’ll thank me later for this.
Start now and enjoy the holidays more! LOCAL KNOWLEDGE. LOCAL SUPPORT.
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Family You are the children of two loving parents, each of whom comes from a family that is large and that still has two living and still married parents. Sadly, that is rare today. Your mom comes from a large family of eight. Every one of those family members adds something special to your lives. My mother was one of 20 - all single births and all from the same two parents, who also remained married from the time they were late teenagers until death more than 60 years later. Kids, you are surrounded with family that loves you and will support you. Your friends may come and go, but with a family this large, you will always have relatives you can call on to support you. I hope you are aware of how special and rare this gift is for you. You Ariana, your thoughtfulness, maturity and intellect makes me proud every day. I have never met an 11 year old that can make me think as much as you do. Abbey, you light up any room you enter. Your creativity, your laugh, the pure joy of living life that you bring to any situation is so very special. Andreus, I see in you so much of myself. You have a curiosity and an ingenuity about you that makes me smile. I am sure you will continue to be one of the kindest gentlemen we know. I am thankful for each and every one of you.
The Caruso Family: Ariana, Martha, Anna, Andreus, Sam, Sr., Abbey, and Sam, Jr. Each of you brings something special to my own life. You each teach me new things every day. You challenge me to reflect on whether I am living up to my fullest potential. For that, I thank you, sincerely. As you sit down this year at Thanksgiving dinner (or two or three of them), you will want to add the things you are thankful for to this list. The list will change every year, but a few things on it will always remain.
scan of a healthy retina
Dr. Fred L. Birmingham, O.D. is pleased to introduce Dr. Amanda Hickman, O.D. to Birmingham Optical. Dr. Hickman earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of New Orleans in 2006 and she earned her Doctor of Optometry Degree from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN in 2010. She received training & has extensive experience in ocular diseases, pediatric eye care, contact lenses, vision therapy & surgical co-management. She is a member of the Optometric Association of Louisiana, the American Optometric Association & she is also the Clinical Director for Opening Eyes vision screenings for Special Olympics Louisiana. Dr. Hickman enjoys spending time with her husband, John Hickman & their three children, John III, Abigail & Ellie. 46
And just a few more pieces of life advice while I’m in this zone... Remember, be strong. Be yourselves. Be leaders. Move the crowd to your liking or leave it, but never let group think get in the way of your own critical thinking. I am very proud of who you are already and I can not wait to see who you become in the future. Love, Dad
Another addition at Birmingham Optical that provides patients with the best possible standard of care, the Optomap® retinal scan. During your visit you will receive the most advanced technology in eye care. The Optomap enables Dr. Birmingham & Dr. Hickman to evaluate your retina with a high resolution digital image as unique as a fingerprint. The scan is non invasive, painless & typically does NOT require dilation. Many diseases such as macular degeneration, retinal tears/detachments, diabetes, glaucoma & high blood pressure can be detected before you experience changes to your vision or pain. Early detection is the key to slowing disease progression or in some cases, vision loss or blindness. At this time the Optomap screening is $29 & a permanent part of your medical record & the images are immediately available for your doctor to discuss & review with you during your exam.
1173 Robert Rd., Slidell
Blue n and
ove Beeth ts Education Concer Fidelity’s C oncerts in th e Park
CARLOS MIGUEL PRIETO, MUSIC DIRECTOR
East St. Tammany Parish
AND BLUE JEANS SERIES
Sunday, December 4, 2:30 p.m. Featuring live choirs, a
Slidell Municipal Auditorium
sing-along and Santa !
Featuring live choirs,Louisiana a sing-alongPhilharmonic and Santa !
Orchestra Julian Pellicano, conductor The LPO’s annual family-friendly holiday
Buy now for best seats!returns to Slidell this season! Guest celebration Buy now for bestPellicano seats! leads the LPO and conductor Julian
local school choirs in performing your favorite Yuletide carols, tunes, and sing-alongs from past and present. Featuring choirs from Little Oak Middle School and Clearwood Junior High School.
Adults from $20 Children/Students $10* *In advance by phone with adult purchase or at the door
Purchase online at LPOmusic.com or call 504.523.6530
“OLDE TOWNE” HEART OF THE CITY
As excerpted from the book Images of America: Slidell by Arriollia “Bonnie” Vanney
Editor’s Note: Slidell Magazine is proud to print this excerpt from the book Images of America: Slidell by Arriollia “Bonnie” Vanney. Bonnie has been a constant source of historical Slidell information for all of us here at Slidell Magazine, particularly in our “Once Upon A Time...” features. In addition to this book, Bonnie had authored An Island Between the Chef and Rigolets, and its companion book, The Lost & Forgotten Communities of Chef Menteur-Rigolets & Lake St. Catherine In Orleans Parish. Both are recognized by the State of Louisiana as THE source books for the histories of the Chef Menteur, Rigolets, and Lake St. Catherine areas. The information Bonnie took years to collect and document on paper is now regarded as historical fact. Both books also are included in the Louisiana Collection, the New Orleans Historic Collection, and the Library of Congress. Bonnie is also curator for the Slidell Mardi Gras Museum, preserving the rich history of our local carnival krewes and parades. Images of America: Slidell can be purchased in Slidell at the Chamber Marketplace on Front Street. THANK YOU BONNIE for all your contributions to Slidell Magazine and our great city!! 48
George Cornibe’s Blacksmith Shop was located on First Street across from the train depot in this 1905 photograph. Cornibe owned a livery stable and was one of the town’s undertakers. His stables were located in the back where he conducted his livestock business. (Courtesy of GOSH.)
Prelude: At the turn of the century, Slidell had its first small growth spurt, which brought entrepreneurs who opened all types of businesses to cater to everyone’s needs. The biggest interests were boarding houses serving hot meals and saloons. In 1910, the Town Council issued eight permits at five hundred dollars each. As the town grew, so did its need for other retail business. Up until the middle 1900s, the town was mainly centered around the old depot. Early development started with Slidell Ice and Light Company on the north end on Florida Avenue, and Salmen Commissary on the south on Cleveland Street.
Mrs. Taylor’s Boarding House was in walking distance from the train depot, shown in this 1922 photograph on the corner of Second and Erlanger Streets. Established in 1913, the building was torn down in 1986. (Courtesy of GOSH.)
Mrs. Evan’s Boarding House pictured here in 1905. Mrs. Evans also owned and operated the City Saloon. There were a number of boarding houses in Slidell during the industrial boom. Not only did they house workers, but travelers and tourist during the summer months. (Courtesy of Slidell Museum.)
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Floor Store (Above) The Salmen Commissary was opened in 1890. It was first built of wood and painted white and located on the west side of the railroad tracks.
FREE S TE ESTIMA It was replaced in 1893 by a brick building on the corner of Front and Cleveland Streets. (Above and left) Back in the early days, workers were paid part in cash and part in chits, which had to be redeemed at the Commissary. (Courtesy of GOSH.)
Twelve blocks along Front Street were dotted with hotels, saloons, a blacksmith shop, stables that housed a horse and buggy taxi service, a barber shop, fruit stands, furniture store, dry cleaners, bank, clothing store and the largest merchandiser in St. Tammany Parish.
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Communication & Conflict Resolution Seminars (Above) Two of Slidell’s many saloons. The location and individuals are unknown. In 1908, the town’s Council granted eight liquor licenses at one meeting. During the 1900s, there were 13 saloons in the town. Liquor licenses cost $500 per establishment and some owners had two and three saloons. In those days, saloons were segregated and women were not allowed to enter or loiter around a saloon. The town Council, in 1907, appointed a committee to instruct liquor dealers how to keep women from hanging around their establishment. (Courtesy of Slidell Museum.) Mrs. McDaniel’s Millinery and Shoe Store was located on the southeast corner of Carey and Cousin Streets. The ladies and gentlemen in this photograph are unidentified. Mrs. McDaniel’s store catered to ladies wears, hats, shoes and other millinery items from New Orleans. The sign on the front of her building reads, “We sell Martinez Shoes, masters of the named Apex Shoes, New Orleans U.S.A.” This building was later replaced in 1917 by a two-story building in the same location. (Courtesy of Slidell Museum.)
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Oxen teams were used to pull loads of logs to the processing plant. In this photograph is an unknown driver pulling a wagon down Front Street. In the background is the Commercial Hotel. (Courtesy of GOSH.)
Edgar Feliciine Perilloux moved to Slidell in 1890. He owned a number of properties and businesses in Slidell. He was Clerk to Slidell’s Mayor and Aldermen and city tax collector. This two-story brick building was constructed in early 1900s to compete with Salmen’s building on the other end of town. This building was located across the street from the train depot and later sold to Harry Hoyle who opened a saloon and rooms to rent. The man pictured on the right is Edgar taken around 1904. Another Perilloux business was operated by his son, a retail liquor outlet in this 1905 photograph, located on the corner of Front and Bouscaren Streets. (Courtesy of Slidell Museum.)
Cattle and other farm animals were free to graze all over town; however, rich land to the south was their favorite place. In this photograph, William Rousseaux is walking his cows down College Street to his dairy for milking. (Courtesy of Slidell Museum.)
(Below) Levy’s Meat Market and Grocery Store was located on the northwest corner of First and Cousin Streets. Solomon Levy and his wife had ten children and their family living quarters were upstairs over the store. Pictured in front of his business in the 1900s is Levy and nine of his children. Just recently a fire destroyed this building in Olde Towne. (Courtesy of GOSH.)
Phillip Haddad, Sr. opened his first store, “The Leader,” in 1913, in a small building on Front Street near Bayou Patassat. During World War I, a building on the corner of Front and Robert Streets became available. He bought the one time saloon and changed it into a clothing and shoe store. After 50 years in business and just celebrating his 70th birthday, he died on a trip to his homeland of Lebanon. In early 1960, the building was demolished. Pictured are Nebeha on bike, Violet leaning on post, Phillip, Sr., Phillip, Jr. in front, Janie holding baby Liz, Nellie next to Phillip, Jr., and Adele in back. (Courtesy of Nebeha Broom)
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Election Day Nov. 8 Paid for by the Tommy Benasco Campaign
Reasons to Vote for Tommy • 30-Year Resident of Slidell • Active Community Volunteer Donor to Habitat for Humanity Board Chairman, Boys and Girls Club of Slidell Active parishioner and teacher, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church Director of “That Man is You” Graduate of Leadership Northshore, Group donated ‘Smoke Trailer Fire District One” for kids Founder of “Slidell’s Bayou Christmas”
• Slidell Police Department Positions Patrolman Narcotics Detective Property Crimes Detective Arson Investigator Computer Administrator Personal Crimes Detective: Homicide, Rape, child molestation, child abduction Detective Supervisor Patrol Supervisor 52
• Trained by the Regional Counter Drug Training Academy in: Video Techniques for Law Enforcement SWAT – High Risk Warrant SWAT – Advanced Entry
• Thoroughly trained by the Public Agency Training Council in: Advanced Homicide Investigation Interviewing and Interrogation Advanced Latent Print Identification Advanced Crime Scene Blood Spatter Analysis Police Supervisor
T O M M Y
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/VoteBenasco • (985) 960-1241
“We are stewards of the patient’s care.” The philosophy and passion that compels Paradigm Health System every day, says system president Kevin Schneider, is set by an invested, engaged group of physicians who have come together to provide a diﬀerent level of care in the everchanging world of healthcare. “It sounds simple – but it’s a far diﬀerent model than what you typically see in a healthcare community,” says Schneider. “As a result, we’re doing great things for the patients that trust their care to us.” Schneider says the secret behind their success includes better clinical outcomes; friendlier, more personal care; pristine patient-care environments; and a great work culture with devoted personnel. The Paradigm diﬀerence spans from ﬁrst call to diagnostics to outcomes and treatment. A comprehensive and collaborative team of specialists and their skilled staﬀ members are laserfocused on fast tracking patients to a solution for their health care concerns.
What makes Paradigm Health System diﬀerent? At Paradigm, the physicians govern the practice, so they have the ultimate say on standards. And those standards are sky-high, says Schneider, capped by the crown jewel for the company— Sterling Surgical Hospital, which patients have compared to an upscale boutique hotel, complete with concierge service. Physicians have direct control of the operating room schedules, which means less wait for scheduling a surgery. Since the physicians govern the hospital, they select the providers that are integral participants in the surgery: nurses; techs; anesthesiologists. “The surgeon’s surrounding environment allows for optimal performance,” Schneider says, “which results in better surgical outcomes.”
We are the care in healthcare.
Not just any physician is right for Paradigm Health System, says “At Paradigm Health System, we are respectful of our patients’ Schneider. “When we add a physician, we make sure they are time and comfort,” Schneider says. “Our physicians use the going to provide high clinical outcomes; that the physician is art and Paradigm science of medicine to prescribe the best c service oriented; that he or she is someone we would Health System is diagnosti southeast Louisiana’s preeminent provider of send testing combined with cutting-edge treatments in coordinated, our own family to. Our physicians are more than good doctors, advanced for brain, & orthopedic conditions. collaborative care—all in-house. It’s acare continuum of care, aspine they’re good people. They care about their patients and their continuum of diagnostics. That’s huge for optimal outcomes.” community.” Orthopedics • Neurology • Radiology • Spine Care • Interventional Pain Management • Podia For example, a neurologist confers with a radiologist in real The engagement is mutual, says Schneider. “We appreciate time to diagnose and then collaborate with a surgeon for nearthe trust our patients and our supportive communities have immediate treatment. What could take weeks to accomplish put in us and all of us at Paradigm Health System are looking in the healthcare ﬁeld, can be completed in a couple of days. forward to continuing to serve and continuing to grow.” HEALTH SYSTEM A NEW DIRECTION IN HEALTHCARE
The physicians are backed by a team of dedicated employees who uphold the Paradigm standards make the healthcare Serving NewtoOrleans, Metairie, Slidell, Mandeville & Lacombe experience a step above, says Schneider. “Our patients and their families notice away,” he & says. “They constantly make a Our skilled team ofright physicians specialists utilize a hands-on approach and practice compassionate patient c point to comment on it, ﬁlling up survey cards, mentioning Paradigm Health System’s goal is to provide a seamless continuum of care in a range of specialties close to ho hard-working employees by name.”
Interventional Pain Management
T. Joel Berry, M.D.
Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
ricHarD TexaDa, M.D.
cHip DaVis, M.D.
Darren ViGee, DpM Podiatric Surgery Sports & Running Injuries
Interventional Pain Management
THoMas Myers, M.D.
cHrisTopHer sancHez, M.D.
JaMes Houser, M.D.
MicHael Becker, M.D.
MicHael Happel, M.D.
paTrick Glynn, M.D.
rex Houser, M.D.
THoMas kreffT, M.D.
Neck/Back Pain, Migraine, Nerve Conduction Studies/EMG, EEG, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Nerve Disorders, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Dementia
(985) (985)882-4500 882-4500••paradigmhealth.net paradigmhealth.net
Slidell Magazine was EVERYWHERE this month! Here are just a few of our adventures!
s ell Magazine’ Peter, el joins Slid C hef Micha y West, and husband est r, Mar r bigg Sales DirectoKendra to celebrate ou !! ER h it EV w along ine edition el!! Slidell Magaz ious food C hef Micha lic de d an t Perfect nigh
“The Storyteller”, Jo hn Case, introduces Kendra an d friend Bernie to real Southern food at The Dinner Bell in Mc Comb, MS
best! ies with the Kendra self n Sharpe, aw D mber CEO ha C h auei, it w Along oard Al Ham an of the B and e ng lle ha and C hairm ber’s C hef C m ha C e th at eaway $10,000 Giv
Michael A. Frederic Executive Chef/Owner
THIS WAS HILARIOUS!!! Jim and Sara Pagones had us rolling with their performances as a man and his pet dog, Sylvia, at Cutting Edg e Theater
4820 Pontchartrain Dr. • Slidell, LA (Hwy.11 at Carr Dr.)
NOW BOOKING HOLIDAY PARTIES!
ag Slidell M r 2016 ovembe
DOING AWESOME THINGS FOR OUR CITY! Sterling Jason of Clipper s Barber Shop & Salon starts the Clippers Walk for Cancer with Joel Bru no, SMH Foundation Chairman
iend rlett and fr and sister Sca h od it Fo w l el ra d lid Ken at the S ng a blast credible vi in ha nd e a ni er er B th mazing wea estest Slidell has Fun Fest. A t and b es g ed! ig b e to all involv event - th ratulations ng o C ! er ff to o
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