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MisChief Violet Du Rouge


Louisiana Artist

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

Check out our Facebook page or call us and see the MisChief we can create for YOU!

"MisChief Violet Du Rouge" 4




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Editor’s Letter

Kendra Maness

Editor/Publisher Slidell Magazine

Cover Artist

Nah, I’m lying. OF COURSE I THOUGHT OF THAT. I saw a documentary recently where a history professor said that we can’t erase the factual history of our past because of the social attitudes we have in the present. That quote stuck with me.

The cover of this month’s edition is one of my favorites. When I first saw it, the illustration was one of many in a collection by artist Shane Wheeler. It jumped out at me and I begged for it to be made into a cover. Lucky for all of us, Shane agreed. As I was showing off the art to one of my friends, they voiced doubts about its appropriateness for the cover of Slidell Magazine for two reasons: 1. It’s a pin-up girl on the cover. 2. It’s a pin-up girl SITTING ON A BOMB on the cover. Wow, I never thought of that.

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

Kendra Maness, Editor/Publisher

Devin Reeson - Graphic Designer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS EFOP, Charlotte Lowry Collins The Storyteller, John Case Pet Points, Jeff Perret, DVM This Month in History, Dawn Rivera Cajun Gravy,Storm Series: Part 7 of 12, Donna Bush Crimmi-Mommly Insane, Leslie Gates Leadership Northshore, Alex Carollo Northshore High Ag Program, Donna Bush Legal-Ease, Ronda M. Gabb Making Cents of Your Money, Mike Rich TED, Rose Marie Sand

Cover: Boudoir Bombshell by Shane Wheeler

World War II poster art was created to garner support, “rally the troops” if you please, of the American public as our brave sons and daughters fought for the world’s freedom. The term “politically correct” had not even been coined yet, and thank goodness for that. Bombs win wars, regardless of how uncomfortable it is to think about. In the 1940’s, American exceptionalism was a good thing for our world, and everyone in our country was on board. If a pin-up gal on a bomb helped win a war and bring our troops home, then so be it. At the same time that our fighting men were inspired to paint these pin-up gals on the noses of their bomber planes, the image of Rosie the Riveter in her red bandana was a symbol of female empowerment in the War effort taking place at home. Both images are powerful reminders of a very different time and very different social attitudes in US history. World War II was a scary, yet unifying, time in America. I do hope you appreciate this cover for its artistic integrity and the history it represents. Memorial Day is May 28, 2018. Please take the time to remember our fallen heroes.

Shane Wheeler Shane Wheeler was born in New Orleans and raised on the North Shore. After going to college, meeting his wife, and living in Central Florida for 14 years, they moved back in 2015 to be closer to family and their favorite places. Shane has been a professional graphic designer for over 20 years. His formal artistic education is in visual communications, graphic design, and computer animation. Shane’s true passion, however, is in creating original stories that he hopes to have developed for TV/film. His love of comics and animated television/features fueled his desire to draw and create his own worlds and characters. He found that he needed written scripts to accompany his imagery to fully express the ideas for development. This is Shane’s first cover for Slidell Magazine and he is so excited to share his original digital art with you from an animated series he has created entitled “Boudoir Bombshells.” It was inspired by the boudoir/pin-up photography of his wife, Kristen. He started thinking about the history of pin-up and its popularity during WWII with nose art on fighter planes and bombers and decided to explore the idea for a story. He started doing intense research on American women’s involvement in the war effort. Combining real history about women’s roles during the war and fictional pin-up characters, he put together a story that is fun, original, and full of heart and historical references. You can see more of Shane’s artwork at:



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MAY 2018

Story by Charlotte Collins

Extraordinarily Fascinating Fascinating “Ordinary” Extraordinarily “Ordinary”People People SPONSORED BY ASSOCIATED Foot Surgeons

Laura Garrity For we walk by faith, not by sight. II Corinthians 5:7

Meeting Laura Garrity was a real inspiration for me. I hope that, if you find her story motivational, you’ll share it with those in need of a fresh perspective. Those who know Slidell Magazine’s Editor, Kendra, know that each of us is “amazing” in her eyes. When Kendra suggested this month’s EFOP because she was amazing, I took that with a grain of salt. Then she told me that Laura is blind; she told me that she holds a

job and told me of her confidence and independence. Laura works at STARC because she believes in giving back to her community. I knew some of the STARC staff and they confirmed Kendra’s superlatives. Nothing any of them said, and none of what I imagined, prepared me for the power of emotions Laura would evoke in me. As I drove to her house, I thought about questions to ask, and imagined how the



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visit would go. I suppose I got distracted because I got lost. I called Laura to let her know I would be a little late. Next thing I know, Laura was describing what I should see and talked me all the way to her house, describing the overpass, the streets I would pass in order, then a flagpole, a fence, and the colors of the houses. Then I remembered that she has never seen any of this. Laura greeted me with a big smile and big, round, blue eyes. The term bonny lass came to mind, as the Irish semblance was obvious. She offered coffee, and I watched in amazement as she pulled out the different flavors and named each of them. It turns out, she labels each box with Braille. She explained that everything has a specific place in the cupboard that she has memorized. She laughed and shared, “It’s a good thing my sweetheart is neat, and puts things back precisely.” As I went to heat my coffee in the microwave, I hesitated a second, looking for the 30 second button. Laura immediately reached over. When she started operating the microwave buttons without hesitation, I began to think she must have some level of vision. She showed me the sticky dots that alert her to the correct buttons. Then she showed me around the laundry room, asking if there was enough light for me to see. She explained how the dots helped her manipulate the washing machine’s fill level, temperature, spin speed, and each setting option. She chuckled and said, “I don’t get away with not doing regular household duties just because I am blind.” We moved to the refrigerator as she showed me family photos on the door. I know the question you must be thinking, and I asked it aloud. Why would she have photos that she can’t see? Her response came with another laugh, “To show people like you!” I asked why she had art on her walls, and she directed me to her favorite painting, asking again if there was enough light for me to see. She toured me through her art and photographs, relaying the story behind each. That’s when I saw a sign with the quote at the beginning of this article. "I still save all my photos because I never lose hope that I’ll see them one day. But I keep out my parent’s wedding photo and my baby pictures because I love the memories of those pictures. I specifically had someone frame them and place them, so that all of my memories of when I could see are around me.” Then she showed me photos on her iPhone. Laughing again at my wonder, she told me, “Friends always ask me to help them with their phones. I use an app called Voiceover, it’s on every iPhone, which allows one to use both voice commands and finger gestures to maneuver around the screens.” Then she swiped to unlock her phone, swooshed to open the camera, and spoke a command to open a recent email chain. Like any sighted person, she sent pictures of her new car to her brother, and spoke another command to hear


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his response read aloud. (Don’t panic, her sweetheart does all the driving.) She described how to spellcheck with Voiceover. With a chuckle she added, “I’m finicky about correct grammar and spelling. I guess that helps me in my job at STARC as one of the secretaries.” She explained that, “STARC of Louisiana is a private, nonprofit organization that helps people who have disABILITIES live a full life despite everyday challenges. It’s the most rewarding job because you are able to help individuals contribute with the talents and skills that God gave them. It is important to me for social reasons also. Family and friends help me with shopping. But for work, I rely on COAST (Council on Aging St. Tammany) transportation. I am so thankful they are there for the elderly and disabled because it allows us to maintain a degree of independence and be able to go to doctor appointments and such. And, of course, there’s CJ, who is my biggest supporter.” CJ Rogers and Laura have been together for nearly 15 years. He also works for STARC as an Administrator over the Supported Employment Department. I inquired about the degree of her blindness, and she revealed that she is totally blind, sees no colors, and has no perception of light and dark, but she has memories of them. That is why Laura can describe things in terms of colors, and she still imagines them. She paused and took a deep breath. Her smiling face became serious as she described how she lost her vision. “I had vision until I was 31.” Another deep breath. “It was very strange. In 1992, when I was 24, I came down with some illness that caused me to be very nauseous and I vomited for 3 months. The doctors couldn’t find a cause or a way to end the nausea. One day, I was in a department store and the bright lights were bothering me. I went home and went to bed. The next morning, I looked in the mirror, and I could not see the middle of my face. I would look at a word in the newspaper, and the center letters in the word were missing. Within 5 days, the vision loss expanded peripherally until I couldn’t see anything.” In spite of the tragedy she was reliving, Laura simply could not go very long without laughing. She chuckled when she told me about her visit to the Ophthamologist. “He asked me to read the top row of the vision chart and my answer was, ‘I don’t even know where the sign is. All I see is blackness.’ He referred me to a neurologist, a neuro-ophthalmologist, an internal medicine doctor, and a whole host of doctors. To put a long story short, they could not find anything specific to cause my nausea or the vision loss.” At that time, she was married to an officer in the Army and they were stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, which gave Laura access to many specialists. She was hospitalized in order to receive very high dosages of IV steroids. The hope was to restore her vision before permanent damage to the optic nerves occurred. The

steroids changed the shape of her face and body and she experienced many side effects. Mentally, the steroids exacerbated anxiety and depression, the very things she was fighting so hard to avoid. Taking another deep breath, Laura admitted, “I was angry, sad, frustrated, and scared, but I was also very hopeful. I felt God would take care of me in any situation.” Over a period of six months to a year, her vision gradually came back. Her eyesight actually returned to 20/20 vision. For six years, she had no problems. She and her husband moved to other military posts over the years. In 1997, they moved to Orlando, Florida and, at the end of 1998, the second bout of illness started. Laura experienced a repeat of everything that happened previously. Once again, it began with the nausea and vomiting. She went to all new doctors, but again there were no answers. In January of 1999, her vision loss started again. Within a matter of 5 days, she went from 20/20 vision to total blackness with no light perception again. Laura explained, “I wasn’t as scared the second time because I had my faith and hope that my vision would come back like it did the first time.” This time the specialists told her that there was now controversy about the massive amounts of steroids. They explained that they were concerned about damage to other parts of her body. The doctors were confident that, whether she took the steroids or not, her vision would return. It may just take longer without the steroid treatment. Naturally, she opted not to take the steroids and wait it out. The nausea did subside after four to five months. Laura confided that it was a long, lonely period of time. Her husband at the time was very supportive, but he had military duties. Her family and friends were as supportive as they could be. But, being out of state, they couldn’t be there on a daily basis. At the four month mark, she asked the doctors again about the possibilities of her vision returning. The doctors relayed that the prognosis wasn’t good, and that the optic nerves had died. There was no treatment to help optic nerves regenerate. Laura straightened up and smiled at me. “So, I made a decision right then and there that I wasn’t going to lay down and die, and that I needed help to get independent living skills.” We took a break to warm our coffee, and Laura showed me how she navigated the changes in her flooring surfaces from wood to tile. The tile transition strip is something she notes with her foot. She purposefully placed a rug in the middle of the wood that also helps her navigate. Outdoors, she relies on sounds and the feel of sunlight on her skin. She explained that sound bounces off trees and doors. “If I walk down to get my mail, I can hear that there is something blocking the

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wind, like a tree or a car, or a person. Even if you were standing perfectly still, I can tell there’s something there. I’ve become more in tune with other senses over the last 19 years. It has been quite a learning experience. My other senses are heightened. My sense of smell is much stronger as well. But the hearing is the most helpful. I am constantly in tune with every sound around me in order to know my surroundings. The TV is on low right now to give me a sound landmark so I can head in the direction I need to go. By day’s end, I am over stimulated and exhausted because I am using all my other senses to stay safe and live as independently as possible.” When we sat back down, Laura switched gears and talked about her personal life. “I grew up in a loving Irish/Italian Catholic family in Bay Village, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with my parents, Martin and Angie Garrity, 3 sisters and 2 brothers. I grew up with lots of extended family and friends. I was then, and still am, a people person, very family and friend oriented. I met my boyfriend in ninth grade. We married eight years later in 1990, and moved to North Carolina, where my first vision loss occurred.” She continued, “At the onset of my second vision loss, the Army placed us at Fort Carson, Colorado. It turns out that the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) training center called CCB (Colorado Center for the Blind) was located about 75 miles away in Denver. I joined the NFB and looked for all the independent living skills training I could find.” In January of 2000, Laura went to school to learn adaptive skills to regain her independence. This meant that she


had to move to the CCB and live in an apartment with another blind student. For seven months, she underwent intense training to learn how to live independently once again. She learned how to read and write in Braille, re-learned computers, did mobility training with a cane, developed adaptive chopping and cooking techniques, and took part in support groups for the emotional part of dealing with such a loss. She graduated from the center in August of 2000. Laura recalled, “I just felt that after completing those courses, I could maintain independence and still contribute to my family, friends and society. The challenges that I encountered there such as tandem skydiving and downhill snow skiing gave me the confidence to face my fears and live life. In addition, this opportunity also allowed me to meet hundreds of people who were also going through a similar challenge.” Laura was preparing herself to go back to a job right about the two year mark of the second vision loss when her next challenge was put before her. Her husband, who was her best friend and always very supportive, told her that he had always loved her, and always would, but that he had to move on. “I was shocked, there were no signs of any problems in our relationship that I was aware of. We always communicated well and had been together for 20 years, 13 of them married. We had been through two wars together. Eventually, I had to surrender and trust that God would take care of me. I can honestly say that the divorce was harder than the blindness to accept.” “I had two options at this point. I could go home where I grew up, and be with

The Garrity family. l-r: Frank, Laura, Bridget, Christine, Barbara, and Marty with their parents, Angie and Martin

May 2000. Mile-Hi Skydiving Center, Longmont, CO

my parents, or move to the New Orleans area near my 2 sisters’ families, and my nieces and nephew.” At the end of 2002, Laura moved in with her sister, Christine, and her family in Metairie. Laura lived with her sister for just a few months, and was ready for a place of her own. Once she found her new home, it was time for her to find her first job as a blind person. “I didn’t think I was very strong, but, oh yeah! It’s unbelievable the strength you can find when you need it.” Laura found an opportunity with LSU, working on a grant through Social Security. A gentleman who worked for the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs worked with her over the next six months to assist her in learning the job. They became good friends. Six months later, he asked her to go to the Christmas party at the Governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge. That date was with CJ Rogers and, Laura beams, “That was the beginning of my new life.” After Katrina in 2005, Laura moved to Slidell. The building where Laura worked in NOLA was destroyed and her job position was moved to the Northshore temporarily. Her sister, Christine, lost her

Laura's vision loss hasn't caused her to lose her adventurous spirit! Left: Hoola-hooping at a family reunion. Right: Boating with Mom & Dad

house so her family moved into Laura’s rental house in Metairie while they rebuilt. Now Laura grew somber again. “In November of 2005, I unfortunately started experiencing another health issue. I had severe burning and pain in the middle of my spine that wrapped all the way around my back, ribs, and chest. Again, the doctors were baffled. They treated me for Shingles, but that didn’t help, so I just kept living with the pain and going for testing. On January 1, 2006, I woke up with numbness and weakness in my right leg. The following day, it had moved to my left leg. The next morning, I woke up and could not walk. So CJ drove me to Ochsner’s main campus in NOLA. I underwent many tests. It was determined that I had a spinal cord lesion that went the length of 12 vertebrae.” “I was admitted and put on a high dosage of steroids once again. Thank God, a neurologist, Kevin McKinley, diagnosed me with a very rare autoimmune neurological disease called NeuroMyelitis Optica (NMO), also known as Devic’s disease. This disease attacks the optic nerve and the spinal cord for unknown reasons. Seven years after losing my vision the second time, I finally learned why. Thank God Dr. McKinley put two and two together. So the battle began,” and she laughed and looked up. Laura went through many infusions, drug therapy experimentation, and both long-term in-patient and out-patient occupational and physical therapy. After close to three years of intense physical therapy, she totally regained her mobility. She went from using a wheelchair, to a walker, and then just a mobility cane. To this day, she has to get blood work done on a monthly basis to monitor certain cell levels. If those levels come back out of range, she has to get Rituxan chemo treatments to kill those bad cells. Looking for the silver lining, Laura pointed out that, “Although I still have the severe banding nerve pain around my back, ribs, and chest, and my optic nerves are dead, at least I am walking and there’s medical treatment out there to help avoid another attack on my spinal cord.” The treatments range from every 4-6 months and will go on for the rest of her life. So far, she has yet to have another attack.

Left: Laura & CJ on the night of their very first date! Right: This beautiful piece of art from Laura's neices and nephew, hangs above her desk at work. It is a tactile spelling of LOVE in Braille

As she explained, “There is no rhyme or reason for my disease. I was told I was the 210th person diagnosed in the states with this rare disease. Supposedly, NMO is predominant in European countries, and it predominantly occurs in AfricanAmerican males.” After the long-term rehabilitation and managing her pain, Laura began to work for the Lighthouse for the Blind in NOLA. It was tough in terms of transportation, but between CJ and friends, Laura commuted. “At the Lighthouse, I was able to teach independent living skills to people who were losing their vision, and also facilitate a support group to individuals with vision loss. It is very important for people going through this, and their family and friends, to get help, because there is life after vision loss.” In 2011, STARC offered Laura a part-time job in Slidell. Until the end of October 2013, Laura worked for both Lighthouse for the Blind and STARC. “Eventually, the commute to Lighthouse for the Blind came to an end. Now I was able to continue to help people with physical and mental challenges, and continue to partake in life to the fullest. I have been with STARC for close to 7 years now, and feel very blessed that I can still interact with so many loving people and do service in this community.” “Having to face many challenges throughout my life, as I get older, I truly realize that having a deep relationship with God, family and friends is what this world is all about. The bad part of modern life is that families are spread all over the states. Our family is no exception to this. Despite the miles between all of my family, it’s really important for me to share with them, especially my nieces

and nephews, just how precious life is, and all the blessings that we have been given are to be treasured and not taken for granted.” "Look at the wonderful life I have here,” and she gestured across the room. “I have candles burning and Carnations to keep my surroundings upbeat. It’s the small things.” Laura has several family members and friends who help her on a regular basis with tasks such as mail, paying bills, running errands, shopping, getting to and from appointments, etc. “They truly are angels to me!” Laura lovingly talks about her grade school best friend, cousin, nieces and nephews, her sisters and brothers, and her sisters-in-law… all of whom she sees or talks with regularly and all of whom play a significant role in her life. “My sister, Bridget lives in California and calls me on Fridays to pray with me and read devotionals. There’s almost never a day that goes by that I don’t talk with my Mom and Dad over the phone. They live in Ohio, so I treasure being able to hear their voices, and laugh, on a regular basis.” “Throughout the year, my Mom and I pick out books we want to read and she reads to me over the phone every day. There’s nothing like hearing your Mother’s voice read to you, whether you are a small child or 50 years old!” “My other sisters, Barbara and Christine, and my nieces stop over as often as they can to share a cup of coffee with me at my house or pick me up and take me for a nice lunch and shopping in Olde Towne. Love those days!” “CJ takes the time each week to go 13

online to the Netflix site and pick out movies that come in descriptive format so we can enjoy a movie together and not miss a beat as to what is taking place in each scene. Believe it or not, sighted people tend to miss a lot, and they even pick up on things through the descriptive narrative,” she winked. She also goes to the movies with friends who will quietly describe what is happening during the parts of the movie where there is no dialogue. “I could go on and on telling you about all the others who mean so much to me and who are always there for me, day and night, but there’s only so much time and space. As you can see, there are so many people in my life that help me out and bring joy to my life.” With that, a car pulled up, and the smile on Laura’s face was the biggest one I had seen all morning. “And CJ means the world to me." Joining in the conversation, CJ looked at her and proclaimed, “I fell in love with her because she’s cute, but also she has that great smile and loads of personality and determination.”

She was so joyous that I had to commend her for how she stays so upbeat. Her answer was, “My thought is that we are all going to have to carry crosses throughout our entire life. But to just keep doing the right thing, being good to people, staying humble, and trusting the Lord is the only way to keep going. I know everything is in God’s time, but I still believe God wants me to see the beauty that exists in this world. If it doesn’t happen here on Earth, I just trust that when I do leave this world that I will see all the beautiful colors and people that I love in eternity. And I’m truly OK with that.”

Laura concluded, “Here it is 15 years since I moved to the New Orleans area, and I’m so thankful that God gave me a second chance to experience love again. Some people don’t get to experience it even once. I was given another opportunity to experience life with one of the kindest, most giving and humble, generous, and patient men. Some might call that luck, I call it Divine Intervention.”

I got in my car to head home, and realized I had held in a mass of emotions in order to capture her words. Tears poured from my eyes, and my hands were shaking. But they weren’t tears of sorrow. I suspect you all know what I mean after reading this.

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On the banks of Bayou Bonfouca, a world away from traffic and strip malls, Nathan’s Restaurant offers locals a taste of everything to love about Slidell - amazing food, beautiful bayou scenery and family history. Cooking classic Creole fare with flair may be in the Eirich family DNA. Nathan’s Restaurant owner and Executive Chef, Ross Eirich, named his restaurant after his son, Nathan. Chef Ross’s greatgrandfather, grandfather and father all owned restaurants in Europe and America. It seemed only natural for Chef Ross to follow in his family’s footsteps and explore his talents with a Culinary Arts degree. Chef Ross has cooked at many fine restaurants in New Orleans and, before his reputation as a premier chef in Slidell, was best known as the Executive Chef at Galatoire’s. There, he cooked for the James Beard Awards in New York and was awarded the prestigious Restaurant of the Year Award and the top restaurant in the US in 2003.

Nathan’s Restaurant opened in February of 2008. Chef Ross says, “We had a vision, and that vision has never changed - to make every single thing from scratch and offer the highest quality ingredients, freshest seafood, and hand-cut steaks made to order. I think to myself, if I were a customer, what would I want? Our vision will always be the same.” “All of our dressings are homemade and delicious, we clean our own fish, we cut our own steaks, and our oysters were in the water that morning. You won’t find anywhere that has fresher food, and you can taste the difference!” Good golly can you ever! My dinner was Chef’s choice, starting with Bacon Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli and shaved Parmesan cheese atop a serving of tender asparagus. I’m a bit of a scallop snob, as I too often find them rubbery and tasteless. Chef Ross’s scallops BURST with flavor and have a creamy texture, delicious! Next up were the crabcakes with Roasted Corn Maque

Choux, topped with Remoulade Sauce. No kidding, each of the crab cakes were as big as my hand! The main course was Mike’s Snapper topped with shrimp in a lemon caper butter sauce. This is Chef Ross’s favorite dish and I can see why. He prides himself on his restaurant’s philosphy that fresh is best and IS IT EVER! The Snapper was perfectly cooked and surprised me with its buttery texture, well complimented with a delicious and light, but bold, sauce. I give Mike’s Snapper two thumbs up, and more if I had extra hands! The ambience of a beautiful bayou sunset closed out the evening as I went to the bar to enjoy an Old Fashioned, a rare treat in today’s restaurants. Nathan’s Restaurant is locally owned and prides itself on knowing their customers. With many of the same staff members working there since its opening, you can rest assured that your dining experience will be a delicious way to support a truly spectacular small business in our community.

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The Addams Family Slidell Little Theatre • 2pm










Pope John Paul II Graduation Spring Forward Job Fair Slidell Auditorium • 2-6pm



GRAND OPENING Brass Monkey • 3:30-4:30pm






Chamber Luncheon 11:30am

Pearl River HS Graduation Southeastern • 7-9pm



Ambassador Meeting Chamber • Noon

Education Committee Chamber • 8:30am



EYP After Hours Location: TBD • 5-7pm

Chamber 101 Chamber • 9:30am

"The Storyteller" John S. Case Free Greenwood Cemetery Tours Tuesdays - Thursdays • 12-1pm • By appointment only • 985-707-8727


Dine & Discover Workshop Starting and Financing your Business Idea Chamber • 9am-12pm


Salmen HS Graduation Southeastern • 7-9pm

Cinco de Mayo Party Silver Slipper • 5-7pm



Randy Smith Golf Tourn Royal Golf Club • 1pm




Cinco de Mayo! Kentucky Derby

Northshore HS Graduation Southeastern • 10-Noon

Camellia City Farmer's Market EVERY SATURDAY 8AM-NOON



Heritage Park 11am-9pm

LA Veteran's Festival


Slidell Movie Night A League of Their Own Heritage Park • 8:30pm

Savannah Sipping Society Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm

Savannah Sipping Society • Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm

Canoeing the Bayou Northlake Nature Center 9am and 1pm


Slidell Jazz & Blues Fest

Heritage Park • 3-10pm


Let's Be Frank • Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm

SMH Lunch & Learn “For Your Eyes Only” Dr. Ha Ninh, OD 11:30am – 1pm SMH Founders Bldg (985) 280-2657 to register

The Addams Family • Slidell Little Theatre • 8pm Let's Be Frank • Cutting Edge Theater • 8pm

Red White and Blue Masquerade Northshore Harbor Center 7pm




OLL BAYOU BASH • May 4-6 • Our Lady of Lourdes

Street Crawl zOldeCarey Towne Slidell • 5-10pm



Free Boating Safety Classes, US Coasty Guard Aux May 19 and June16 First United Methodist Church • 8am-4pm

Senior Resource Festival Castine Center

Intestacy & Me Free Workshop with Ronda M. Gabb Ronda M. Gabb & Associates 10:30-11:30am



Boy Scout Social Pinewood Plantation 6:30-8:30pm

Business After Hours Chamber Martketplace • 5 - 7pm



NOMA Art Show • City of Slidell Art Gallery • Show runs thru May 19

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Bayou Jam The Castaways Band Heritage Park 5:30-7:30pm

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Storyteller DIRTY JOE hungry. She dug in her purse and found one lonely quarter. Not much to feed a mother and her child.

Somedays it bothered her more than others, and today was one of those days. When Rose was young, she had dreams; but so far, they had not been fulfilled. She didn’t blame him for everything. He worked hard. It seems there was never enough money to go around. She could forgive that, but his lack of consideration for her and her feelings hurt the most. Her dreams did not include being the mother of a five-year-old at age forty, but accidents happen. He had dropped her off in town with their son, Will, so that she could do the weekly grocery shopping. She begged him to wait for her, but he refused. He would come back and pick her up later. That was three hours ago, and it was cold. The thermometer on the bank said it was 25 degrees. It was windy too. Where was he? She had no idea, but she knew he would say he had car trouble. The car ran

Maybe something warm to drink would help. Hot chocolate and hot coffee both cost a dime. She had enough money, and a nickel for a tip.

fine when she was in it, but always failed when he was alone. She did not suspect him of any type of infidelity, but she could not understand why he was not more attentive. Will was cold and began to cry. She would go inside the grocery store and wait. Two more hours passed. Both she and Will were

The Coffee Pot was a small diner that served short order meals. It was famous for its hot coffee, but also had a sign that advertised hot chocolate. There were only two tables inside, but there was a lunch counter with about ten stools. She knew it was frequented by mostly men and she did not feel that it was appropriate for her to enter with a small boy; but it was cold, and they were hungry, so she would. The cold air that had stung her lungs was overcome by the heavy cigarette smoke that belched from the door as she opened it. She hated that smell.

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The volume of the conversations suddenly lessened to call attention to the fact that there was a lady in the room. She looked around and saw the tables were both taken. There was one stool vacant at the lunch counter. It was next to Dirty Joe. She knew why the seat was vacant, or at least she suspected why. She had seen Dirty Joe on the streets for years but had never come in direct contact with him. She had formed her opinion from afar.

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He was a thin man on a big frame. Being thin was explainable and even expected. The dirty clothes he wore, not so much.


His khaki pants were always dirty, and his blue denim shirt always had food stains. The inside of his pants legs, from the knee down, were black with grease, the result of his means of transportation, a bicycle with no chain guard. This also contributed to his lack of weight.


His face was not thin though, or at least what you could see of it. He had a long, grey unkempt beard. This was long after beards were fashionable and long before they became fashionable again. He did not smoke. Worse, he dipped snuff, the residue of which rested in the beard.

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She had no alternative. She would sit on the stool and hold Will in her lap. She ordered a cup of hot chocolate and a cup of hot coffee. Will was fascinated with Dirty Joe. He had never seen a beard like that and probably never saw a man so dirty. His folks may have been on the poor side, but they were cleanliness fanatics. His mom always said, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” In a moment, both the coffee and chocolate were served. She took a swallow of the black liquid. Not only did it warm her, the caffeine immediately gave her a rush. She then held the cup of chocolate for Will to sip. As soon as it touched his lips, he jerked his head, shouting, “HOT!” She should have known; her coffee was too hot for a child, so there was no reason to think the chocolate would not be.

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Coincidently, Dirty Joe had just been served his chocolate when they arrived. He too found it too hot to drink. He carefully poured some of the liquid in a saucer and, letting his beard spread into the saucer, he gently blew his breath across the small ocean of cocoa. You could see the smoke rise from the saucer as the temperature of the liquid seemed to dissipate. That is when he and the boy first made a connection. Their eyes locked on each other. You would have thought Will had never seen a man, and Dirty Joe had never seen a boy. As he extended both hands that held the saucer of cooled chocolate, he said, “Missy, take mine for the boy. It done been blewed and cooled.” Rose had manners and she respected all types of people. She thanked him, politely, but refused. She then ordered a cube of ice and dropped it into the liquid, which cooled the chocolate in a less ceremonious but more sanitary way. In a few minutes, her husband arrived. He said he was told that she and the boy had been seen walking in the direction of the diner. It was now after dark.

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---------Will never forgot Dirty Joe and would point him out to whoever he was with if the two happened to see each other on the streets of town. Dirty Joe delivered newspapers on a bicycle. Almost nothing was known about him. He had appeared in town about 20 years prior, seldom talked to anyone, never caused any trouble, and mostly stayed to himself. He was a loner. When Will was about thirteen years old, he was waiting to cross the street down by the post office. Dirty Joe was pedaling down the street with sacks of newspapers on the front and rear of his bicycle. At the light, which was green, he pulled over and came to a stop next to Will. “Hey, little buddy. You won’t remember, but a long time ago I met you and your mom at the Coffee Pot Diner. Do you remember?” Will could not keep his eyes off a big clump of something brown in Dirty Joe’s beard. “I kinda remember it.” “Kid, do you know what my name is?” 370 GATEWAY DR, SUITE A SLIDELL

Without thinking, Will blurted out, “Yea, Dirty Joe.” As soon as he said it, Will was embarrassed and began to apologize. “You don’t need to apologize, son. Everyone calls me that. But can I tell you something?” “Yes sir.” “My name is William, and I understand yours is too.” “Why do they call you Dirty Joe?” To make up for the embarrassment of calling him Dirty Joe, Will continued, “After all, you’re not dirty or anything.” “I don’t know about that, little buddy. But that’s what they call me and that’s who I will be. I’ll see you around.” ---------Will and his family now lived in town. He could walk to school or almost any place else he wanted. He would see Dirty Joe often, and each time Joe would stop and spend a few minutes with him. When Will was fifteen, Joe asked him if he would like to roll papers for a few weeks. The papers were beginning to run the Christmas specials and were larger and more time consuming to handle than normal. Will agreed, but something told him he should probably not tell his parents that he was working for Dirty Joe. He agreed to meet Joe at his house. Everyone knew where he lived. It was most unusual. The house was just beyond the city limits and was no larger than twenty-by-twenty-feet. The house itself was built out of disassembled Coca-Cola and Orange Crush cases. They were left in their natural color; so, from a distance, one may have thought it was a giant advertisement for soft drinks. The indoor plumbing was limited to a sink. The other facilities were in the back yard, an outhouse. In one corner, there was a cabinet top with a sink and kerosene stove. A mattress was on the floor, and there was one chair. The rest of the interior was stacked with old newspapers. The house did not have a front


porch, only steps that led to a front door with no lock, just a wooden latch. There was a back porch that had a relatively attractive view into a hollow, where there was a small creek. The boy and his friend rolled papers on that porch. The friendship grew without either one of them realizing it. Joe had never had a friend, or if he had, they were few. Will had never had a grown man as a friend. Over the next few years, as their closeness grew, Will could see Joe’s health declining. As men do, Joe began to lose his hair and go bald, and it appeared his beard was getting thinner. Will was now a senior in high school, and he confided in Joe that he would like to get additional education. He would love to go to college, a real college, but he would be pleased to go to a vocational school. His family’s economic condition had not improved, and he knew he would get no financial help from them. Maybe he could learn to weld. He could go to work on the coast, in the shipyard, or maybe in Baton Rouge at one of the refineries. Joe encouraged him. “You don’t want to be like me, son. I didn’t and don’t have much to live for. I have pedaled that bike with those papers for 35 years. I need to tell you that I am not well. I know I am sick and don’t need no doctor to tell me what I already know. I quit the paper yesterday.” Will had never heard Joe speak so openly. He made up his mind that he would visit him each day, or at least until he got to feeling better. The next afternoon, when Joe opened the door, Will thought he was seeing a ghost. Joe had on clean Khakis, a new white shirt, new shoes, and most markedly, his beard was shaven. “Boy, I wanted you to see what I will look like when I’m dead. I tell you, boy, it ain’t gone be long. And by the way, I have willed all my assets to you. Now listen to me. I saved one paper from every day that I delivered papers. That is nearly 13,000 papers. A lot done happened in this world since then. War, gangsters, murders, assassinations, all that kind of stuff. You go through those papers carefully and save the papers with good stories. They will be valuable. I know it.” ---------It wasn’t two weeks later someone called the police. Joe was sitting on the front steps to his house in a slumped position. His will was in his hand and he was dead. Will’s first trip inside the house was about as haunting and sad as you can imagine. He looked at that insurmountable stack of newspapers. There’s no value to these, he told himself. He picked up one at random, unfolded it, and a dollar bill fell out. In each paper, all 12,740 of them, there was a dollar bill. That was a lot of money in 1965. Will went to college, a real college. He is now a retired journalist.

John S. Case May 2018


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GO BEYOND by Rose Marie Sand


last month some friends and I drove to Baton Rouge, all excited about the prospect of seeing a TEDx talk. Not one person was named TED, nor an X-rated presentation given, but a group of 13 speakers presented to us in the format of a TED talk. Still not sure what I’m talking about? For the uninitiated, TED talks are presentations of a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to spread ideas, usually in the format of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). Begun in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converge, today’s globally presented TED talks cover almost all topics. The organization has also created TEDx conferences - independently organized events, as well as TEDed, which offers educational lessons. Becky Reeves, Joe DiGiovanni and I headed to Louisiana State University on a clear day in March to our first TEDx event. All of us are avid TED enthusiasts, and all of us were stoked about the opportunity to attend this conference in Baton Rouge. I’ve been a TED fan since first turned on to the organization, always hoping to someday attend a conference. I listen to the TED Radio Hour podcast, which features excerpts from a talk and a behind the scenes interview with the presenters. The first talk I vividly remember is one by Brene’ Brown on “The Power of


Vulnerability,” and by Elizabeth Gilbert called “Your Elusive Creative Genius.” But don’t think TED focuses on just those kinds of topics. There are talks about music, medicine, investments, AI, video games, solar energy - well, just about anything. I start off looking at one on YouTube or on the TED website, and easily get lost in the experience, like Alice in Wonderland. There’s even a TED talk on how to give a TED talk. We learned the Baton Rouge TEDx conferences have been going on since 2013, and pull a cross section of attendees. As we all know, the BR campus is beautiful in itself and an exemplary learning environment. My friend, Becky, waxed nostalgic about her days at the university, and commented, “I’ve come a long way from a naive freshman to a professional woman. I wish I could tell myself back then how it all would turn out.” Joe (better known as my brother) was also contemplative as we waited for the doors to open.

“I believe I’ll learn things I never knew existed and ideas to explore for personal growth - a better version of myself.” And the focus at the lectures are a sort of place to ponder and appreciate such thoughts. The theme of this conference was RE-FRACT - to alter, disrupt, break open, distort, shift and redirect. There were many displays and interactive opportunities before you even entered the auditorium. One could experience virtual reality, play with an engaging big erector set, listen to live music, take a pic in the photo booth, or write a note to inspire a stranger. There was even a post-show experience with dishes from top local restaurants (free beer for those of age!). Once in the auditorium and infused with our generous helpings of curiosity, we perused the list of speakers. An anthropologist, an engineer or two, a ‘fish translator,’ a ‘jazz disruptor,’ a political scientist, a champion of street art, a ‘mosquito whisperer,’ a white hat hacker and a coastal storyteller, promised sensory overload. Yet the format of the engaging talks and the enthusiasm of the presenters kept everything moving smoothly and deliberately. Here are some of my notes: Only female mosquitos bite you - they need the protein to make babies. I immediately made notes to check my outdoor spaces for standing water.

Aerosol artists call themselves ‘writers.’ Drug dealers usually move out if murals are painted in a neighborhood, because that brings attention. Art raises the vibration of a community. Local media empowers a world that is infinitely both connected and fragmented. Actions speak louder with selfies. We saw slides of the amazing strides being made in facial reconstruction from fragmented scalps. We heard about costal land loss made personal by the stories of those who are impacted. We learned about ‘phishing,’ the practice of sending messages from seemingly reputable companies in order to trick people into sharing personal security information. These are fragmented notes - the most important take away from the experience of seeing or hearing a TED talk is the inspiration to delve deeper into the topics that are presented in this format.

On way the home, tired from sitting and thinking, the three of us went through the brochure and discussed the homework we’d each consider. I encourage you to check out and share your favorite talks. Look at the section about sharing the talks with other groups - the organization is quite open and even eager to share them with the public. The best TED talks are compelling, well researched examples of calling people to action. Although they can be formulaic in their concept, the TED approach to presentation is, to me, persuasive, emotional and tells a story. In doing some research about TED talks, I found a few websites that debunk information presented at a talk. In fact, there are comments on each TED talk page that range from enthusiastic to critical. And that’s the most important part of the program to me. Like everything else in life, I use these 18 minute talks as a jumping off point. Yes, most of the presenters are experts

in their field and I’ve learned about topics and research that I never knew existed, as my brother said. The younger version of ourselves might never have been given the opportunity to hear such talks outside of a university environment. We’d surely never have imagined an Internet of ideas and shared information. The experience of watching a TED talk is more than a connection of notes and quotes. It goes beyond a learning environment to connect viewers in an emotional and interactive way. Perhaps that connectivity awareness is the most important thing about these programs. Last night while doing research for this column, I found talks about overcoming biases and also one that explores the value of prejudice. I’ll leave you with the idea of finding those talks, and thinking about the ideas presented. Listening to a condensed presentation and exploring the concepts, searching our soul and thoughts as we do, may be the one learning experience we should share.

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By Mike Rich, CFP® Pontchartrain Investment Management

THREE CHEERS FOR FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE. The cute girl you see here is Grace, my ten-year old granddaughter. I’m always pleased to brag about my grandchildren, but I am particularly proud of Gracie these days because she recently made the cheerleading squad at her school. I’m proud of Grace because she made the squad, but even prouder about the way she did it. After deciding that she wanted to try out, she worked hard to make it happen. She made a video of the routines, memorized the cheers, and practiced the moves for days and days. She worked on the brightness of her smile, the loudness of her voice, and the sharpness of her steps. When she had trouble with a move, she tried again. She rehearsed in front of her Mimi and Poppy, got a good night’s sleep before the tryouts, and probably dreamed about how cute she would look in her uniform.

this particular case, Grace did just that, and she succeeded. That life lesson will, I hope, stick with her and inspire her to achieve much more in her life, which I know will present countless opportunities. She’ll have to deal with some failures, of course, but my guess is that she’ll bounce back and try again because of the lessons she’s learning now.

In the end, she was chosen for the squad. Hey, let’s go! Ever since she was old enough to understand such things, I (and her parents) have emphasized to Grace that if you want to achieve something important, the best way to do it is to, first, set a goal, and then do the things necessary to achieve it. In

Setting goals for one’s financial life can work the same way, too. Just as Grace did, financially successful people set goals, devise a strategy, and then do the things needed to make it all happen. There are no guarantees with most financial goals, of course, but my experience as an advisor has been that deciding to wing it typically doesn’t work for most people. Here are two things you might want to consider doing instead to enhance your financial future:

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Goal Number 1

Save and invest outside of your employer’s plan. The money that goes into your 401(k), 403(b), or other employer plan is going to be taxed at ordinary income rates when you start spending it. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a source of tax-free money, as well? That’s where an investment strategy outside of your employer’s plan makes sense. Money going into a Roth IRA, for example, has already been taxed, and your withdrawals later will (under current law) be tax free, which could be a big plus in the future.1 If you’d like to learn more about this strategy, call me.

Goal Number 2

Build an income plan. I’ve got bad news and good news on this. The bad news is that many of you who are reading my article do not have an employer-provided pension plan. The good news is that you can build your own plan to supplement Social Security

and to provide income to cover your “must have” expenses in retirement. There are several ways to do this, and I can show you how. In my opinion, this is one of THE most effective things you can do for your retirement, and the key to success is to start early. Way back in April 2013, my Slidell Magazine article focused in part on our national debt. At that time, our country’s debt was $16,686,720,315,173. As I sit down five years later to write this month’s article, the National Debt Clock2 in Manhattan’s Times Square shows that our debt is now more than $21 trillion dollars. If you do the arithmetic, it means that our national debt has ballooned by more than 25% during the past five years. Given a number of factors, including the recent tax cuts, increased government spending, entitlement demands, and the fact that our labor force is not growing significantly, the debt number is likely to be much bigger in another five years and beyond. The thought should be frightening for all of us to behold.

You and I might not be able to do much about the national debt and our government’s spending habits, but we can do many things to prepare for our own financial futures. Frankly, we don’t have a choice. On a personal note, I’m doing everything I can to help Grace and my other four grandchildren get started on a path to financial independence. It’s going to be a long path, but they have the gift of time to potentially make it work. For the rest of us, we might not have as much time as Grace and her cousins do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps today to possibly make our financial futures better. If you’d like to talk about some ways to do that, call me for a free consultation. I’ll even ask Grace to cheer you on.

Qualified withdrawals are tax-free. Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax. The Roth IRA offers tax deferral on any earnings in the account. Withdrawals from the account might be tax-free, as long as they are considered to be qualified. Limitations and restrictions might apply. Future tax laws can change at any time, and might impact the benefits of Roth IRAs. Their tax treatment might change.



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The Southeast Louisiana Council serves more than 7,300 Scouts in 11 Parishes.


oung people face many challenges on their path to becoming productive participating citizens. Scouting programs help them navigate those challenges and strengthen character. These programs exist because of the generosity of the communities we serve. Here are a few facts about Scouting in our community: • Local youth participated in 6 major programs last year. This includes Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture Scouting, Sea Scouts, Soccer and Scouting, and Career Exploring. • Over 2,000 adult volunteers donated their time to mentor youth in 2017. • More than 840 Scouts were in Scouting programs in East St. Tammany Parish last year.

• In 2017, the average Scout performed almost 14 hours of community service, including 124 Eagle Scout Projects. • Scouting teaches youth valuable life skills such as personal management, goal setting, citizenship, peer leadership, first aid, cooking, and lifelong fitness. Join in supporting such an awesome organization on a very local and personal level. The 2018 Cypress District Golden Eagle Social will be held on Thursday, May 10th at 6:30pm at Pinewood Plantation. The Social is free to attend, an ask for support will be made during the program. Please consider helping youth by joining us at the Social this year and becoming an investor in local Scouting! Help the young boys of our area grow into the gentlemen of the next generation.



Cypress Golden

Eagle Social

Thursday, May 10th • 6:30 - 8:30pm • Pinewood Plantation ADMISSION IS FREE! AN ASK FOR SUPPORT WILL BE MADE AT THE EVENT Music by: Mike and the Old Dogs Awesome Auction Items to Bid On! Visit Funds raised will support Scouting in East St. Tammany Parish





our continuing saga of Cajuns helping neighbors, are you surprised to learn that there is a food component in the Cajun Nations? Of course not! After all, we do love to eat in Cajun country. We love to cook, and we love to share our cooking with others! Enter Cajun Gravy by Jody and Elrena Martinez from Houma with hearts bigger than any pot of gumbo!

Editor's Note: This month, we continue our 12-part series covering the amazing work being done by Louisiana heroes in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes and natural disasters. Slidell Magazine's award-winning writer and photographer, Donna Bush, has spent months travelling with multiple Louisiana-based organizations and volunteers, documenting their missions in the affected areas and those whose lives they've impacted. We share an unfortunate kinship with these survivors. We know all too well that disaster recovery is a slow and painful process. We are proud to showcase the volunteer efforts of our fellow Louisianians. 28

They are the only members of Cajun Gravy, except for an occasional volunteer to help plate and hand out food. They are not an officially formed group. Everything they do, they do from their hearts. Like many of the other groups, they started helping others with the 2016 flooding in Louisiana. While watching the horrible scenes on TV, they decided, “We gotta’ do something!” Their hearts were breaking for the children who were losing everything. They purchased $100 in toys at Dollar Tree, then drove 2½ hours to the Lafayette neighborhood they saw on TV, only to be turned away by law enforcement. Elrena took to social media to find other children in need. She didn’t find a home for the toys, but she saw a post about an Iberville flood victim in need of size 36/30 flame resistant clothing (FRC) to return to

work. Interestingly enough, Jody was given a Tupperware tote full of FRC in this size a few weeks earlier. Of course, the amazing couple immediately headed to Iberville. As they learned of hard hit areas that were being overlooked, they headed in to cook for them. One such neighborhood was Port Vincent. A young lady who volunteered helping them serve food shared how neglected her home area was. They were still without electricity a month after the flooding. Jody and Elrena contacted a recently opened grocery store in the area requesting permission to use their parking lot for food distribution. They were welcomed with open arms as they passed out over 1600 hamburgers and hotdogs. It was here that they finally found homes for all the toys they had purchased. This is also where they met members of The Cajun Army, which led to a fruitful partnership. Cajun Army, which I shared with you in February, is an official nonprofit, providing gutting and mucking of flooded homes. Their partner provides food to the homeowners and Army volunteers. When the food is ready, they ride down the street handing out meals, sometimes 3 or 4 per person.


Jody tells me, “I don’t want to ever see anyone hungry. I give them extra, so I know they have food for tomorrow.” To illustrate how big their hearts are, I must share with you some of their background. Elrena is a massage therapist in Houma and Jody works full-time in New Orleans as a scaffolding builder. He leaves work at 6pm and has a 90-minute commute. That’s 7:30pm. Then he drives around picking up food and supply donations, sometimes out as late as 9pm! They didn’t have a trailer when they started their operation in 2016. Each Thursday, they would rent a U-Haul to carry all the food and supplies, plus cooking equipment. Thursday and Friday evenings were spent loading for the trip, then hitting the road late Friday night for their cooking destination, allowing an early start Saturday morning. When they arrived home Sunday, the U-Haul had to be unloaded and returned. After all, it was a rental! This was how they operated during the Baton Rouge flooding. When Hurricane Harvey hit, they thought they had made some progress. Elrena’s Father had purchased an open farm trailer and loaned it to the couple. With everything loaded and strapped down, they joined the first Cajun Army convoy to Texas. Thank goodness they were in a convoy. Everyone stopped in Cameron to buy gasoline. Cajun Army resumed the convoy, but as Jody and Elrena pulled out, the trailer cracked in the middle. Chris King, head of the Cajun

Army, called to see what happened to them. Jody patched up the trailer as best he could and met the convoy a mile down the road. They were able to distribute the goods from the trailer to other vehicles in the group and resume their route to Texas. A good Samaritan took the trailer and repaired it for their return trip. Jody and Elrena thought they were back to renting a U-Haul, but God intervened. They were gifted a new 2017 enclosed trailer and others donated freezers to their cause! Now they can leave a freezer in the trailer, pack as food and supplies come in during the week and are ready to roll Friday evening. I joined them in Orange Texas where they cooked for Hurricane Harvey locals living in a gutted motel while trying to repair their homes. Most had lost everything – homes, vehicles, clothes. We talked with Heather and her husband who waded through rushing water in the middle of the night with their seven young children, including holding a baby above their heads. Of course, Jody and Elrena came bearing clothing in the appropriate sizes, cleaning supplies and other necessities, including a gift card to help them get back in their home. We were all in tears. They cooked spaghetti in a crab pot and plated food for all in the hotel. While handing out food, an older man using a walker came down the street. Jody and Elrena offered him food. He

shared that he had lost everything and had been walking all night from one hotel to the next to see if he could find a room for his family and himself. Unable to abandon him, they called Cajun Army for assistance, who provided him with a tent and bedding at his house that night and gutted his home. They always cook in crab pots and typically serve gumbo, spaghetti, chili, red beans, etc. Meals that will go a long way. They never take cash donations, only food donations. Those wanting to help can donate to their account at the Chauvin Piggly Wiggly. Anyone seeking a tax credit, can donate to Cajun Gravy, via Cajun Army. It is still hard for me to wrap my mind around someone desiring to help so immensely that they would rent a U-Haul trailer every weekend for over 6 months. Jody and Elrena are indeed those two individuals with a goal to feed those in need and with hearts bigger than their crab pots of gumbo!


My Amazing Pet Sitter by Kendra Maness Safe, loving and dependable care when you can’t be there.


ina Triay started Tall Tails in July 2005. It seemed an obvious profession for her – she loves pets, she KNOWS pets, she’s meticulous about their care, and she just has the natural connection that makes pets love her. Dog whisperer? Kinda. More like a cat-dog-bird-pig-goat-and occasional ferret- whisperer! Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a fanatic when it comes to my dogs. Like many of you, my dogs are my children. That's why Gina is my pet sitter. She handles dogs, cats, reptiles, and even birds with ease, because she’s been a Mom to all of them. “It’s more than just feeding and walking and giving them love,” she says. (But she readily admits that play and love time are her favorite parts of the job!)

“I’m passionate about animals and their care. I treat every one of them as if they were my own. And I respect every client’s home as I would want mine respected.” Our pets are living longer. It’s not unusual to have a 13-year-old dog or even a 15-year-old cat. Boarding at a kennel or at the vet may be too stressful for a senior pet. Gina works with pet owners for these special situations and is the go-to solution for in-home care. Multi-pet households, like mine (I’m Momma to 8 dogs and a goat), can also benefit greatly from pet sitting. “It’s definitely a more cost effective option if you have more than one pet,” Gina notes. For pet owners that have difficulty transporting their pets, Gina solves that problem too!

As professional pet sitters, Gina and her staff are bonded and insured. That makes a big difference. Gina notes, “Having a neighbor or a friend take care of your pet can be dangerous and that really worries me. There’s just not enough training or accountability. I can’t tell you how many times I was called in because a neighbor was entrusted and they forgot because it's not part of their daily routine, or they left the house a mess, or didn't follow instructions, or let the dog/ cat get out. There's a way to enter a home to prevent an escape and I teach it to all of my ladies in Petsitting 101. I’m not against boarding. It works for some people. But some people have said their pets come back sick or with fleas. And, with boarding you don't get regular messages with pics on how your pets are doing.”

Gina makes it easy to relax and enjoy your vacation, knowing that your pets are safe and well cared for. Her staff is trained in pet CPR, medication administration, all have had background checks, and they come with pages of references.

industry as well. They were nominated in the top five best Pet Sitters nationwide in 2012, 2014, and 2015 through Pet Sitters International ( With over 7000 sitters nationwide, and 400 competing each year, that’s quite an accomplishment!

What is involved in pet sitting and in-home care? “More than people know! My staff was shocked to learn it’s not just puppy and kitten play time. Everyone's home is different and every pet is unique. If you don't get trained by a pro, there is going to be a mishap that can be as simple as getting locked out of the house with the keys inside. Or worse, a door not locked properly and a pet runs away or is hit by a car. We get puked on, pooped on and peed on. We are covered in pet hair and slobber all the time. We work long hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are up a 5am on all holidays caring for pets while your family can relax and travel with peace of mind. I recently had an inquiry for a position we have open and the young lady said she would love a stress free job. LOL! She’d better try another job then because this one is loaded with responsibility!”

Gina has a special place in her heart for special needs pets, having been the mom to more than one. "I definitely understand how hard it is to trust your pet with someone, particularly pets with a high level of care. Handling special needs pets with blindness, deafness, crippled or diabetic is no problem at all. We are well-trained and experienced in these areas," she said. An interesting note is that there is no additional charge for medication administration, even insulin. That's a huge relief for me!

Tall Tails has more than just experience and training, they have the appreciation of their clients and respect from their

"We are also very experienced in the care and feeding of exotic birds. I myself own an Amazon parrot, as well as a blue and gold Macaw." To start your pet sitting experience, Gina first sends you her reference list, which is three pages long! Then, she wants to meet you and your pets, and for all of you to meet her. Tall Tails is about building relationships and trust, and the free meet and greet is where this begins. From there, the times and dates of your in-home visits

and the expectations are outlined. Do you need your mail brought in? No problem. Would you like your curtains and lights rotated? Done. "We even have a free app that the clients join and set up a profile. Then you can book visits and pay online and stay in contact with the sitter. The app also notifies clients of every visit, with pictures and/or messages in real time!" When I asked Gina what she loves most about her job, her answer made me smile. "Animals are the purest form of love we have. They have no expectations and can just be where they are at any given moment. If humans were more like dogs and cats, we'd solve every world problem we have. It's good for my health to be around them!" When it comes to trusting someone, not only with your beloved fur family members but also your home and its valuables, there’s no better choice than Tall Tails!

985-781-9DOG (9364) Insured


Story by Alex Carollo Suicide and mental health. Two topics that no one wants to talk about. Even in 2018, there is still a social stigma attached to both which unfortunately prevents a lot of people with mental health issues from seeking help. Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s talk about these issues. “Suicide has always been an issue in St. Tammany Parish,” says Lynette Savoie, Executive Director of St. Tammany Outreach for the Prevention of Suicide (STOPS). “Suicides in St. Tammany are 15 to 20 percent above the state average. It’s a big problem.” STOPS was formed as a private non-profit organization in 2001. The organization is comprised entirely of volunteers who are committed to providing community programs in an effort to lower the suicide rate in St. Tammany Parish as well as to ameliorate the sting of the loss of a loved one to suicide. Their mission is to reduce the incidence of suicide and its devastating aftermath in our community. By fostering prevention, intervention, and postvention resources, 32

they seek to create a community safety net for individuals and families in crisis. “We have had 14 suicides in St. Tammany Parish already this year. It’s horrific,” says Savoie. “That number is high for where we are in the year right now. And that number doesn’t include all the survivors. For every suicide that is committed, there are at least six survivors, six people who are directly impacted by that loss.” And unfortunately, many of those survivors are children. “Completed suicides have a great effect on children. One of the most terrifying

things is that for someone who commits suicide, the people that they leave behind are automatically at risk for attempting suicide themselves. That’s why it is so vitally important that we take care of those who are left behind; children, spouses, family, friends, coworkers and students,” adds Savoie. “Suicide does not discriminate. It’s the rich and the poor. The male and the female. It affects everyone.” After a suicide in St. Tammany Parish, trained volunteers from STOPS, who work in coordination with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office, are sent to the scene of the suicide to provide comfort and support and to share their experience and knowledge with suicide survivors; the family, friends and children of those left behind. These volunteers are part of Local Outreach to the Survivors of Suicide (LOSS). “A little while ago, the members of our LOSS Team wanted to start bringing some material things with them on their visits to see some of the kids,” says Savoie. “And then I spoke with someone who said they wanted to help.”

Team LOSS Love: Sonny Hodgson, Brandon Novitsky, Miranda Parker and Lauran Lively

Enter the Leadership Northshore Class of 2018, Group 4, otherwise known

as team LOSS Love. They were looking to take on a community project to help kids. All four members are enrolled in Leadership Northshore, which is a program that fosters emerging leaders in the community. Now in its 27th year, participants attend monthly classes where they learn about different aspects of the community as well as leadership skills. Team LOSS Love is comprised of four members: Sonny Hodgson, Branch Manager at CSC Serviceworks; Lauren Lively, Financial Specialist at Whitney Bank; Brandon Novitsky, Sr. Associate - State and Local Tax at KPMG LLP; and Miranda Parker, Assistant Director for Hospice Foundation of the South. Each year, the Leadership Northshore class is divided into small project teams and each group is responsible for finding a community need or cause and addressing those issues with a project.

Spring is a great time for concerts!

Sunday, May 6, 2018 • 6:00 pm

Some Enchanted Evening with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

“As I have grown in the last several years of my adult life, I’ve learned not to judge people. You don’t know what the backstory is. There is always a backstory. You never think about the backstory in relation to suicide.You think about the person who completed the suicide, and a lot of times, that’s where it ends. It’s unfortunate, but you never think about those that are left behind. And that’s where our project comes in,” says Hodgson. Earlier this year, team LOSS Love asked the community to donate $20 to adopt a child survivor of suicide. The team started to put together kids care packages which include coloring books, crayons, a stuffed animal and a puzzle book for smaller children and journals, pens, stress relief balls and putty for teenagers. All the care packages offer age appropriate books and literature that help kids deal with their grief. “The timing of this was really amazing! The LOSS Love team has been so wonderful and accommodating,” praises Savoie. They listened to the requests from the LOSS Team about ideas for appropriate items to include for different age groups and they were able to supply those things in the packages that they put together. And there have been so many children, particularly this year, who have been affected by suicide. These care packages have really been a great tool for our LOSS Team.” “After speaking with Lynette, we knew this was a bigger problem than we ever expected,” says Lively. “Being part of Leadership Northshore and attending the different classes has really opened my eyes to all the issues and needs that we have here in Slidell and St. Tammany Parish.” “Not everyone is a mental health expert, but we wanted to find a way to help survivors of suicide and to show that our community does support them in their time of need,” says Novitsky. “This is our way of reaching out and saying ‘we care about you.’”

Sunday, May 20, 2018 • 5:30 pm

Bayou Jam Concert • The Castaways

Sundays • Slidell’s Heritage Park Free Admission • (985) 646-4375 • The City of Slidell and the Commission on the Arts want to thank our 2018 Cultural Season Sponsors: Renaissance $5,000 Sponsors:

Baroque, $2,500: CLECO Power • Jazz on the Bayou/ Ronnie Kole Foundation • The Slidell Independent Neoclassical, $1,000: Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert Holiday Inn & Suites, Slidell • Lori Gomez Art Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien • Purple Armadillo Again, LLC

Impressionism, $500: Chateau Bleu • CiCi’s Pizza Dr. Nathan Brown, Northlake Oral & Facial Surgery Louisiana Rep. Greg Cromer • Flatliners Entertainment Old School Eats Food Truck • Olde Towne Slidell Main Street Olde Towne Print Shop • Pontchartrain Investment Management Roberta’s Cleaners • Sabrina’s Sweet Eats Silver Slipper Casino • Slidell Historical Antique Association Terry Lynn’s Café & Creative Catering

“Our teammate, Miranda Parker, was very passionate 33

about this issue,” said Hodgson. “As a group, we all knew we wanted to do something to help kids.” For Parker, suicide is a personal issue that has affected her family and their friends. “My oldest daughter had a friend that attempted suicide several years ago. The effects that had on my daughter and her friends, even though it was not a completed suicide, it was devastating for them. That caused me to think about the situation in St. Tammany Parish, which no one really wants to talk about,” says Parker. “Mental health is not something that is talked about, which makes it more difficult for people who struggle with it to get help for their issues. Seeing the trauma that my daughter and her friends went through made it important for me to think about the trauma that children, the survivors of completed suicide, go through. These kids are usually young and don’t understand what is going on in the moment. They question what happened, what they could have done differently to stop it, and a lot of times blame themselves. We are giving them a distraction and a way to cope with what they are feeling. It gives them a creative outlet which will help them with their healing process.” “Of course none of us are qualified to facilitate real help, but what we can help with is to provide the LOSS Team with tools to help in the moment,” says Hodgson. “Our role is not nearly as important as the LOSS Team and the people on site, but if we can provide a care package and comfort children in that tragic moment, then I think we have done a good thing.” The care packages have already made a huge difference. “What was really shocking for us was the demand. We announced our LOSS Love project in January and we got a call immediately from Lynette, saying that they needed ten. A few weeks later, we got another call for ten more,” says Hodgson. “The care packages shine a little light on a child who is going through something that is unimaginable and unthinkable,” said Savoie. “It makes a difference that they have something tangible to hold on to to help them get through this horrific thing that they are going through. It has meant 34

so much to many children and has made the LOSS Team’s job easier as well.”

“Speaking with Lynette, we know that these care packages have made a difference.”

“Another goal of our project was to bring awareness of STOPS and all the programs that they offer to our community," said Lively. “Not only do they have the LOSS Team that visits with families and children after a suicide, they also have training classes, they educate people about the warning signs of suicide and they offer counseling and support groups for the survivors of suicide.”

“This is a very sensitive topic and something that people don’t want to adress. It’s an ugly topic,” says Novitsky. “But, hopefully, this project helps put suicide in the spotlight and gives it the exposure that it needs so that people will talk about it.”

So, how can you help? “We are asking for $20 to cover the cost of one care package that will go to a child survivor of suicide, but people can donate any amount of money,” says Parker. “People can donate money at any Whitney Bank in Slidell or through PayPal. “People can also help by reaching out to STOPS and donate their time or money and volunteer to serve on the LOSS Team or tell other survivors about the Survivors of Suicide (SOS) meetings,” added Novitsky. “I am thankful to the LOSS Love Leadership Team for adopting us for their project. It could not have come at a more perfect time,” said Savoie. “We hope that this program continues for as long as it can. It really makes such a difference, not only for the children, but for the LOSS Team.” “This is important to me and our team, and our goal is to continue this beyond our Leadership project,” says Parker.

“We really want to get more community involvement, not only to get older kids to volunteer to help make the care packages, but to also help them understand the importance of this project and why we are doing this,” says Hodgson. “We plan to see this through for an extended period of time. We want to offer STOPS and the LOSS Team a few hundred care packages. Hopefully 200 to 300 bags will last forever, but unfortunately they won’t. But we will be ready when they need more help." “We really want to thank the community for supporting our project, for making donations and helping us to continue the conversation about suicide and mental health in St. Tammany Parish,” adds Parker. “Suicide is a serious issues and it needs to be discussed.” For more information about STOPS, the LOSS Team, events including their upcoming 5K fundraising event, and the services that they offer the community, please visit their website at For more information about LOSS Love and for more details on how to adopt a child survivor of suicide in St. Tammany Parish, please visit LOSS Love on Facebook @ LOSSLoveCarePackages.

If you are thinking about suicide or are worried about a friend or loved one and need to speak with someone, please dial 211, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, or visit

Dr. Kevin Curley

Individualized Dental Care

Walking up to Dr. Curley's office, it's easy to forget where you are. The fountain in the enclosed pond out front gurgles melodically as you watch the goldfish frolic just beneath the lily pads floating atop the slow moving water. The benches beckon you to sit and pause a moment to enjoy the fresh smell of blooming flowers on a gentle beeze. The beautiful and pristinely white french provincial architecture is accented with large, open french doors and gas latern lamps. Am I sipping mimosa's on a back patio off Royal Street? No, it's hard to believe, but I'm at the dentist.

2800 Gause Blvd East Suite D Slidell, LA 70461 985-649-7510

are comfortable with the relationships they can develop with us. When people run into a corporate situation, they might lose that. Corporate dentistry is when the dentist is an employee. It’s managed well, but the business plan is bottom line oriented, and sometimes personal care is compromised. We feel that the bottom line is going to take care of itself. We are about an individualized approach to dental care, very relationship oriented. When you have patients for 20-25 years, they become friends and family."

A Louisiana native, Dr. Kevin Curley graduated from the prestigious Louisiana State University School of Dentistry in 1982. He began private practice in the Slidell area and moved to his current location in 1998, which was customdesigned for optimal dental care and comfort. The office building is located conveniently on East Gause Blvd., but the atmosphere takes you to a peaceful place, worlds away from the busy street.

Dr. Curley meets with every patient before they come to his chair for dental work in an open-air front office with high ceilings and a beautiful view looking onto the patio and fountain in front. "It helps ease the patients' fears, in more ways than one," he notes. That ease extends into the dental suites. Luckily, Dr. Curley's office was built before the East Gause expansion and before a back fence was mandatory, giving each room a picture perfect view of the scenic lake behind the office. Patients can lose themselves in the serenity and leave the hard work to the dentist!

One of Dr. Curley's driving principals is "high-tech, low fear," and his office setting is just the first introduction to that philospohy. "We appreciate when people come to us for dental care because, let’s face it, dentistry is not fun. There’s no way it can be fun. But it can be easier and it can be more comfortable and that’s what we’re trying to do," he says. "Patients can trust that you’re on the cutting edge in technology but they need to be comfortable. The openness of the office design and the courtyard were part of that concept. I like when people feel the energy."

Dr. Curley's passion for his patients' well-being expands into his charitable work in the community. He was a founding member of the quirky Olde Towne parade, Mona Lisa and MoonPie; he's been a longtime and avid supporter of the Books to Kids program; he donates to Slidell Ladies for Liberty; and he participates in a program called Donated Dental Services, helping those less fortunate achieve optimal dental care without consideration for cost. "I’ve always tried to giveback with my dentistry and I like supporting my staff's charitable work."

Dr. Curley is excited about his practice and its philosophies. "My staff and I are on the same page. Hopefully patients

With over 35 years of dental practice and charitable giving, Dr. Curley is making a community of smiles in Slidell! Heather Alongi has over 10 years of experience in the dental field, and 6 years in customer service. She is committed to making sure each patient has the best experience possible and is skilled in working with insurance companies to get the maximum reimbursement. She is a member of Leadership Northshore class of 2018, where she is learning to improve our community.

Stacie Smith graduated from LSU School of Dentistry in 1999 with an Associate’s Degree in Dental Hygiene, and has been working with Dr. Curley since 2001. She feels fortunate to be given time to spend with her patients to help them achieve and maintain the best oral hygiene possible, and focus on prevention. She is currently taking online courses to receive her Bachelor’s Degree.

THIS MONTH MAY FACTS/MYTHS The month of May is named for Maia, the Greek goddess of fertility. In any given year, no month ever begins or ends on the same day of the week as May does. May was once considered a bad luck month to get married. There is a poem that says, "Marry in May and you'll rue the day."


Strengths: Reliable, patient, practical, devoted, responsible, stable Weaknesses: Stubborn, possessive, uncompromising

GEMINI May 21 - June 20

Strengths: Gentle, affectionate, curious, adaptable Weaknesses: Nervous, inconsistent, indecisive


No US President has ever died during the month of May.

The Emerald symbolizes love and success. A symbol of rebirth, it is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth. The deeper or more green an emerald, the more valuable it is.

According to an old Cornish superstition, it was unlucky to buy a new broom in this month. And so was washing a blanket! Some people believed that if you got up on May 1st and washed your face in the May dew, it would remove all freckles and pimples, giving you a great complexion. Another belief was that babies born in May would be sick all through their childhood, and cats born in May wouldn't catch rodents but rather bring home snakes.

FLOWERS The Lily of the Valley is a small, bell shaped flower. The leaves and petals have been used in medicine because they contain cardiac glycosides. It is also known as "Our Lady's Tears" because, according to the legend, the tears that the Virgin Mary shed at the cross turned into Lily of the Valley flowers. The Hawthorn has two different types, Crataegus and Rhaphiolepis. Medicinally, the Hawthorn is used as a herb to help lower blood pressure and to treat some heart related diseases.


National Day of Prayer


Star Wars Day: "May the Fourth Be with You" Star Wars Day celebrates the pop culture phenomena, Star Wars. Observance of the commemorative day spread quickly through social media and grassroots celebrations. The date was chosen for the pun on the catchphrase "May the Force be with you" as "May the Fourth be with you". Even though the holiday was not actually created or declared by Lucasfilm, many Star Wars fans across the world have persisted and now has since been embraced by Lucasfilm as an annual celebration of Star Wars.


Cinco de Mayo Cinco de Mayo is a great day to gather at your favorite Mexican restaurant around town, listen to music, maybe dance a bit and eat an absurd amount of chips and salsa. People mistake Cinco de Mayo for Mexican Independence Day all the time and we hardly need an excuse to party, but it is actually a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.


World No Diet Day

MAY 13

Mother's Day

MAY 26

Sally Ride Day (As the first American woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride)

MAY 28

Memorial Day The Indianapolis 500 car race is held each year during this month. The Kentucky Derby is also held on the second Saturday of this month. ALS Awareness Month Barbecue Month Foster Care Month Mental Health Awareness Month Loaded Potato Month Military Appreciation Month

Story by Dawn Rivera

Graphics by Devin Reeson



May Day was a big holiday at Covington Grammar School with pageantry and plays. In 1951, this group performed "The Wizard Of Oz" on stage. Source:


Slidell High School is established and, in 1918, it becomes the first accredited high school in St. Tammany Parish.


Slidell Little Theatre “The Addams Family, a New Musical Comedy”

MAY 19

Louisiana Legends from the New Orleans Museum of Art


Free Boating Safety Classes, US Coast Guard Auxiliary


Carey Street Crawl


Some Enchanted Evening with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

MAY 19

Louisiana Veterans Festival

MAY 20

Bayou Jam Concert: The Castaways Band

MAY 26

Slidell Jazz and Blues Festival

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

WHO HANDLES THE FINANCES IN YOUR FAMILY? Couples often divide up everyday chores. One person may take care of the “indoor chores,” like cooking and cleaning, while the other person may do “outdoor chores,” like mowing the lawn, raking the leaves. One person may purchase holiday and birthday gifts, while the other pays the bills and handles financial matters. This “division of labor” is a great way to ease the burdens of life. However, it is also important that each person knows how to do all the chores, in case they need to take them on some day. If the “cook” is sick, the other person will need to step in until the cook is back on his or her feet. What would happen if the person responsible for money matters died or suffered an incapacitating event? Let’s look at a couple who had that experience. Chris and Pat divided up the chores. Chris had responsibility for money matters. It worked well for them; Chris was good with money and Pat hated all the paperwork. However, when Chris had a stroke, became incapacitated and died unexpectedly at age 50, Pat did not know anything about their financial affairs. In addition to grieving the terrible loss, there was confusion and uncertainty about handling the finances. Pat didn’t even know where to send the mortgage payment.

Legal-ease There is much more to the job of handling finances! An excellent way to keep all of this information and documentation in one convenient location is to create “The Binder” with tabs for assets, insurances, important contacts and documents. Besides Chris and Pat, their Executor in their Wills and their Agent under their Powers of Attorneys should be familiar with “The Binder,” know where it is located and have access to that location. The Binder should include copies of all real estate deeds, titles, and I recommend a copy of the last year-end statement (Dec 31st) of all bank and investment accounts, retirement accounts, insurances, mortgage statement, credit cards and other bills. Refresh all every January as you’ll be surprised how much changes in a year. Of course, The Binder should include copies of your estate planning documents (Last Will and Testament, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Living Will, etc.) and it should indicate where the originals of these documents are stored. You can even create an “Ethical Will” with personal instructions to your family about who you would like to receive your jewelry or collections, and where you wish to be buried. Be prepared when illness, incapacity, or death strikes. It is important to know where things are located and what must be done. Make sure you know the answers to the ten questions above. Take a moment today to learn about the finances. You’ll sleep better once you do.


Teaching each other the skills involved in the other’s chores is especially important in financial matters. It’s important that both parties know the basics. Both should be able to answer these important questions for your financial well-being:

Thursday, May 31, 2018 • 10:30 – 11:30am


Are the bills sent electronically? How are the bills paid, and from which account?

What really happens if I die without a Will?


Are any automatic money transfers set up?


Where are the checking, savings, and brokerage accounts invested?


What are the account numbers and passwords for online access?


Where are the health insurance cards kept?


Is there any life insurance?


Do you each have financial and health care powers of attorney (and a Living Will)? If so, where are they kept? Powers of Attorney allow your appointed “agent” to manage your assets and health care in the event of your incapacity.


Do you have a Will and/or Trust? Where it is stored?


Do you have a funeral plan in place and/or does someone know your wishes? E.g. do you wish to be buried, cremated, donated to a medical school?


Who are your trusted advisors (estate planning attorney, CPA, primary care physician, broker, and insurance agent), and how can they be contacted?

ATTEND THIS FREE EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOP AND LEARN: Can I write my own Will? What is Community Property and Separate Property?

Seating is Limited and Reservations are Required, So Call Now To Reserve Your Seat!

985-892-0942 Seminar sponsored by, and located at the office of:

40 Louis Prima Drive, Covington, LA (off Hwy 190, near Copeland’s) Ronda M. Gabb is a Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist certified by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization. She is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Governor’s Elder Law Task Force. Ronda grew up in New Orleans East and first moved to Slidell in 1988, and now resides in Clipper Estates.

40 Louis Prima Drive (off Hwy 190, behind Copeland’s) • Covington, Louisiana • (985) 892-0942 •

Northshore High Ag Program story and photos by Donna Bush

When Kendra suggested I write a story about Northshore High School’s Agriculture Program, my first thought was, well, this should be interesting learning about suburban kids showing livestock. Little did I know that what I would really learn was about life lessons. From the first moment I arrived on campus, I was greeted and welcomed by every student I met. The common attitude of all the students was politeness, respect and sincere caring and compassion for everyone in the program. Clayton showed me from the school office to the Ag Building, sharing that he was part of the Carpentry Program. Up until then, I didn’t know there was a Carpentry Program. We walked into the Ag Building where Dr. Todd Tarifa, head of the program, was talking with students about the upcoming Parish 4-H/FFA Jr. Livestock Show. Several students were showing, and it was easy to see they were excited about it! Todd gave me a blanket introduction and offered to take me to see the barn where students were eagerly completing final preparations. On the way, I learned about the barn's background. Todd had spent years asking the school board for a barn and being turned down. Officially, they couldn’t 40

build one inside the Slidell city limits unless it was stucco or brick. However, they had a termite-infested, dilapidated building where the horticulture department stored plant pots. Todd went before the school board and asked if he could take an existing building and make it into a barn. They gave him the green light. Students and parents pitched in to jack up the building and put 4x4s all around it. Lean-to sheds were built on the sides.

“The parish was so impressed with what we had built, they came and raised the concrete up another four inches. It’s not what we think of as a traditional barn, but it gives us a place on campus to house our sheep and goats. It won’t hold all of them, but Lewis Stables partners with us and provides free barn space.

In fact, Lewis housed all our livestock, until we got our own.” They started their hands-on program with quail and meat chickens, even processing their own products! Wow! Three years ago, Todd asked 4 students if they would like to show lambs. They were all suburban kids! They had never been exposed to livestock. But, their response, “Sure!” They showed and loved it! One of the girls won Grand Champion the following year. Todd shared, “I’d been doing extension work for 16 years, working with kids and livestock the entire time, and never won Grand Champion! Word got out. The next year, we had 6 students showing, then 15. After that, we had to limit the number of students in the program. This year, we have 32 kids showing and 44 animals!” The livestock program has three interns, positions only available to seniors. Internship offers more responsibility and room for growth in the program. They mentor the less experienced students, guiding them and sharing their knowledge. Per intern, Caitlyn Craddock, “It’s a big honor to be asked to be an intern. It means you are doing everything right and all your hard work has paid off. You must fill out an application, keep your GPA up and be accepted. Interns administer medications

How do you tell a goat from a sheep? A sheep’s tail hangs down. It is often docked or shortened. A goat’s tail sticks up unless it is sick, frightened or distressed. Sheep take longer than goats to shear. Northshore High Ag shows Shropshire and Southbound sheep and Boer goats.

to the sheep and goats. I learned the difference in subcu, intra-muscular, oral and all the special shots. When I was a freshman, Coach Tarifa, my basketball coach, asked me if I wanted to show a goat and I said, ‘Sure.’ At that time, I didn’t know the difference between a sheep and a goat!” Each student is responsible for feeding and watering their animal(s) daily. That means arriving at the barn before classes start and another visit after school. It doesn’t take long but these are important tasks which must be completed. So, what’s involved in showing? Each animal shown must be bathed, groomed, sheared, clipped, and hooves trimmed. This takes lots of time! All students bathe and groom their own animals. They learn how to shear but some are not very comfortable with it. Interns step in to assist. Prior to the show, the interns spent 12-hour days at Lewis Stables prepping the animals. Caitlyn confessed, “It was a long and tiring day! Each animal requires 1½ - 2 hours to shear them properly. I was tired, but I loved it!” Interns will trim the hooves a little, but the fine-tuning is left to Ag teacher, Katie Strecker, who raises her own goats and sheep. Interns, Caitlyn, Jacob and Lexie, shared, “Miss Katie is a

wiz at trimming hooves. If you trim them wrong, you can cripple them for life.” Loading the goats and sheep in the trailers to transport them to the Covington Fairgrounds was like an Olympic event! It's a well-coordinated team effort. Everyone pitched in, whether they were part of the livestock group or not. Students inside the trailers held those animals back, while others manned the gate, as another would bring a goat/ sheep to be loaded. What would make it more exciting? A goat-escapee! Yep! That would be Annie! LOL! In the Showmanship classes, the judges are judging the student - their appearance and their ability to hold and handle their sheep or goat. The student must keep a constant eye on the judges. In the breeding classes, judging is on the animal – structural soundness, skeletal dimension, muscularity, and eye appeal. Prior to the Christmas break, the livestock group had a very healthy population of laying hens providing fresh yard eggs to the community. Sadly, they were killed by coyotes. They lost $3000 in one day – lost the hens and lost egg production. Now they must buy new ones, feed them, and grow them to resume production. The PTA started an adopt-a-chicken

fundraiser to replace the chickens. In addition to the chickens, they are adding geese and ducks. They are also introducing a duck feeding program that will sample various feeds to determine the best mix. Future plans include a small animal component. As I mentioned earlier, Northshore’s Ag Program also contains a Carpentry tract. This tract is co-taught by Todd and Shelby, the newest member of the Ag Program teaching team. Shelby, a Northshore High graduate, joined the team mid-semester. She prepares the students with all the safety aspects of the curriculum. Then Todd takes them into the workshop for hands-on learning. This group is the smallest number of students due to the safety requirements. As they progress to working with power tools, close supervision is needed. They’ve proven invaluable to the school, building a two-tier stage for the choir room, bookcases for classrooms, planters around campus, hanging whiteboards and even classroom repairs. The stage alone saved the school $10,000. Clayton, the Carpentry student who guided me to the Ag Building, shared, “Everything I’m learning will benefit me for the rest of my life.” The third tract of the Ag Program is Horticulture, or Team Hort as their t-shirts proudly proclaim. They are under the guidance of Todd and Sandy, aka "Mama." Remember the planters that the Carpentry Department built? Team Hort raised and planted all the flowers in them. They grow vegetable crops to harvest and raise spectacular plants for their event collection, used for school occasions such as prom, awards nights and graduation. Beyond school, this collection has been used to 41

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beautify Slidell for the event, Taste of Olde Towne, and more. Students assist at The Master Gardeners’ plant sale each year in Covington and many other areas of community outreach. Per ‘Mama,’ “From mid-March to mid-May, Team Hort staged 11 school events in 8 weeks!” The group makes money for the school with their spring plant sale open to the public. The Horticulture and Livestock programs compliment what students learn in Biology classes. Hort students learn the various forms of plant propagation – seeds, cuttings, bulbs, etc. Combination planting is taught, combining complimentary colors of plants together. Students are responsible for watering, fertilizing, trimming, cleaning and planting. This includes crops and beds around campus. This is a 365-day a year program. Plants are always growing, needing water and attention. Both groups participated in the NOLA Farm to Table Conference, demonstrating shearing of goats and sheep, plus how to build a terrarium. The students were charged with creating, designing and implementing their demos in the Kid’s Zone. They were a big hit, not just with the children, but with parents also. They made a difference through education. Several of the Hort students have already earned money while in high school with landscaping for teachers or parents. Chance Bell has his own landscaping business, “Chance’s Lawn Service,” helping him make money before he goes off to college. He even came in on a snow day to repair the greenhouse heater when it wouldn’t work. Thales Aquier shared, “I like the sense of accomplishment, seeing the fruits of my labor. I take pride in my work.” I asked graduating senior and intern, Jacob Negueloua, how the Ag Program has changed his life. “I learned more than I thought I could ever know about livestock and received opportunities I never dreamed possible. As a sophomore, our Ag Program was invited to the Commodity Classic in New Orleans. This is the largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show. I worked at the John Deere booth and was able to network with farmers from all over the world!" "The program has brought me out of my comfort zone, making me more independent and more confident in front of others, especially with public speaking. I’ve had a lot of responsibility and developed leadership skills that will aid me in my life.” Jacob plans to pursue a Livestock Production degree at Louisiana Tech and hopes one day to have his own breeding farm and allow students to show his livestock. I spent several hours over the course of several days with these students. I attended their livestock show, the plant sale, saw the two-tier stage and planters built by a team effort of Carpentry and Horticulture, and watched

them as they decorated for prom. Each time, I was welcomed with open arms, courtesy and politeness. At times it was difficult to tell who was in Carpentry, who was in Livestock or who was in Horticulture, because it really didn’t matter. All that mattered was that there was a task at hand that needed to be done, whether that was loading goats in a trailer, planting or watering plants, pricing plants for the plant sale or decorating for prom. They all pulled together to get the job done. No one was forced to do anything. They WANTED to help! Life lessons come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. At the livestock show, I personally witnessed the entire Ag Program, students and teachers, as they rallied around a special needs student who won his class. No one could have been more excited for this young man. Isn’t that what life should be about? Having compassion and support for others? I was told over and over by multiple students, “We love Coach Tarifa, Katie, Shelby and ‘Mama’ (Sandy).”

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“We have the best role models [in our teachers].” “I feel like I have a second family.” “I’ve learned so much!” “I have a great appreciation for this program and this school. I will never take anything for granted.” “We fight like kids in a big family, but we are quick to jump in if anyone needs help with anything. It’s not like sports where the focus is all on winning. If you don’t win, you’re a loser. Not so with the Ag Program, we support each other and we're always happy for everyone.” Leading the largest Ag Program in St. Tammany Parish, Todd shared, “It’s not about winning. It’s about the experience! All the school’s special needs students are included in the program. We focus on similarities rather than differences. Every student is treated exactly the same. You have responsibilities. You do your work. Some students learn better by doing rather than watching and listening. Our Ag Program is the perfect mechanism for them. We work with at least 100 students every day of the year, even in the summer, but on a smaller scale. Our goal is to have a good day every time they walk in the building.”

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Per Principal Jabbia, “Ag is a great opportunity for our students to perform hands-on activities and embrace nature. Our program has allowed our students to learn how to care for animals, plants, and to live off the land. I am extremely proud of the accomplishment of our students and teachers.” The Ag Program has suffered some losses this year – 46 chickens and winter crops prior to harvest. These are harsh lessons. Life lessons. Farm life lessons. Like a lot of losses in life, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Stronger is what the Northshore High School Ag Program is! Stronger!

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Crimi-Mommly INSANE s

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L Story by

“Four's a CROWD” Look, my mind is a little frazzled. Inner thoughts, ALL over the place. There are no real “ahhh moments” for me to talk about, and to be honest, I’m tired of feeling and thinking so much. So, maybe I should just go to bed. Or, I could have a few drinks and do something impulsive to get my mind off it all. No, that wouldn’t be good, it’s not the example I want to set for the kids. They need to see me as someone that has it together, practicing what I preach, finding good, healthy ways to handle my emotions. I introduced my three, named personalities years ago. And the paragraph above is a good example of them sitting together, playing the game of life, and trying to figure out how to handle the new gal at the table. I’ve learned a lot about myself since writing about them. Crazy thing… they are STILL HERE. No pact made between the three to find some common balance so that we could stroll through life feeling a little more centered. Nope. Actually, they had another 44

little meeting awhile back when I wasn’t looking and allowed this new personality to hop on board. To catch you up, there was Grace, the lady-like, Christian-rooted, empathetic one, that has it all together. Ray, the ca-RAY-zee, impulsive woman-child, with manic moments usually leading to poor decision making and feelings of inner shame. And Ralph, the hopeless shell of a person that finds it easier to just stay in bed and sleep it all away. I can’t believe there is a NEW one to add to the clown car that is my personality. I wanted to see if she was gonna stick around awhile, so I haven’t named her yet. I’m thinking, maybe it’s time. This one has to be my least favorite, BY FAR. She likes to show me ALL the things that need to be done, with no real direction or focus, and with multiple choice answers of no less than 10, none of which are the right answer, because she likes for me to think a little

more. Worry more. Maybe throwing a major life event in there to see how I will handle it, without giving access to the other three personalities, for a little, out. That’s funny stuff right there. SO. FUNNY. While desperately trying to buckle the straps on this old, wooden, nonmaintenanced rollercoaster that sits in a deserted amusement park in my mind, I’m anything BUT amused. Reminding me of how I used to enjoy balancing my checkbook and sending Christmas cards to everyone, she also secretly erases my memory of all online passwords and which days my kids have extracurricular activities. Then, she shows me someone in my life that still does these things, calmly, while wearing makeup and a smile. Me, well, I’m driving with my elbows on the steering wheel to pick my daughter up from dance class, while holding the paper bag I’m breathing into. Or, sitting on the hidden chair in the woodsy part of our backyard, trying to desperately remember a

few Yoga poses before someone finds me, swatting away the mosquitoes and reading quickly Googled prayers to calm myself. It’s the worst feeling EVER. A.N.X.I.E.T.Y. Or, as I shall call her, “Annie.” I went to the movies recently to watch “Rampage.” Annie decided to tag along. It’s about these regular animals that go rogue after becoming infected with a dangerous pathogen. The exposure to this causes their growth hormone to multiply. They start to kill everything in their path as they make their way through downtown Chicago because there is this annoying beeping tower thing on top of the tallest skyscraper, and it is really bugging the crap out of them. They want to rip it down so the darn thing will quit beeping! It’s kinda how I felt before the movie, while ordering nachos and a drink. Of ALL the people working there, no one would turn off the three loud popcorn machine alarms! Of course, it seemed like I was the only one in the whole place affected by this since Annie was sitting on my shoulders. It’s like the Hulk, who had similar issues as the rogue animals. But his comes and goes, depending on his trigger. When he appears to feel uncomfortable and angry, then starts transforming, it is how anxiety feels. Or a broken bone. Or a bruise. If you poke on it, you might get thrown through a wall. It hurts. And you don’t understand why no one sees that pain. No splints or bandages being offered. Simple advice. Maybe it’s covered well, if the paper bag doesn’t give it away. But it’s a lonely, scary place to be. Especially if a loud beeping sound starts going off in your ear at the same time. When Annie comes to town, she gives no warning. No time for strategic planning to be able to defeat her in

battle. There could be total silence while calmly folding the laundry, watching the grass grow out the window. Then, out of nowhere, she whispers softly, in her creepy monster tone…

of all, don’t forget your sole purpose… the CHIIILDREEEEN. Don’t mess them uuuu-uuup. AND! When you get all that squared away, your husband will be in the beeeed-roooom.

“I’m he-eeere. Remember, the school clothes you are folding are a size too sma-aaall? SOOO, they will look neglect-eeeed. It also means they are growing u-uuup. Where did the time goooo? Oh! I almost forgot! Someone you care about needs a place to live for a month or two-ooo, SO, might want to figure that oooout! HOMEWORK! THAT FORM YOU NEVER TURNED IN! CALL YOUR MOTHER! Ring ring… it’s the vice-principaaaal! He wants to know if your child is expecting on a floo-ooood because his pants are shorrrrt. Also, taxes are due in a week and you suck at ma-aaaath. RUN! HIDE! CHAIR IN THE WOODS! PAPER BAGS! But most

“READY. AND… GO!” If you didn’t read that in the correct creepy voice, that’s on you. But MAN, where is Grace when I need her? Ray...? Can we go have some fun? PLEASE? Ralph? Can we just go to sleep? RAAALPH?! Nope. They only know what they know, and are all hiding with everyone else, wishing me the best. Reading many articles on the subject, tired of worrying about what is around the next corner, it always comes down to the same practical advice. Deep breathing, meditation, keep yourself busy, exercise… That’s all great, BUT, 45

when you are in the midst of a panic attack, you can’t necessarily jump into any of those things right away. Getting to the root of the problem is what really needs to be done, and that takes time and lots of practice. It’s why I haven’t written about it yet. Didn’t want to address this major problem with common answers, or worse, none at all. It’s one of the top three most Googled medical conditions, affecting 40 million adults in the U.S. and only 36.9% of those people seek treatment. Don’t ask me where I found that info, because it was a quick search. I didn’t want to search too long, it could lead to Annie self-diagnosing me with some other disorder. Luckily, I’ve been tearing Annie a new one for awhile now, and pretty much figured out how to make her one of those colorful, squiggly-line clouds you see following the person on the anxiety medication commercials. Following ever so closely, but not making those squiggly lines all up in my body. It really came down to this for me… What does God have to say? Well, He has A LOT to say about it. And after reading Bible verses, explanations to those verses, articles, and watching many sermons on it, this is what spoke my language and helped me the most… Steven Furtick’s sermon called, “Why do I have anxiety?” He makes seven points on getting to the root of your Annie:


1. Why are you anxious? I’m sure there are many reasons, I listed some already, but there was a part he talks about that affects almost everyone right now. He mentions how the iPhone has this cool new function. Androids too. All of them have it, but few people know about it. It’s right there on the side. A button you push that actually turns your phone OFF! Wow! Imagine that! “We pray for the peace of God, but He has nowhere to put it! Your mind is too full! You were not designed to have the entire conversation of the whole human race buzzing on your butt bone! There is a shock collar on our back pocket and we don’t even know it!” “What we do take in is just as important as what we don’t take in. Get your intake levels up.” Anything that God has given to us must be fed to grow and be healthy. Our bodies are the most obvious because we get thirsty and hungry. But, we make a choice to feed it healthy food or junk. We are what we eat. Our spirit is the same way. It needs to be fed good stuff, not a bunch of negativity or empty calories. 2. Check for imbalance. “When we don’t have a sense of priority in our lives and everything seems urgent, it means we haven’t figured out what is really important.” I was guilty of this for a long time. I mean, I always knew what was important but, my balance and boundaries were out of whack. We may find that people use us for their own agenda too. They know “Grace,” that nice, empathetic, good- lookin’ gal, who takes the weight of the world with her kind heart and gentle spirit, giving them an ear to listen and a bag to punch. Or, fun,

adventurous Ray, that has them laughing for hours… their minds on a journey, away from their own worries for a bit. BUT, when lil’ Annie or ole’ Ralph steps into the picture, growing huge and turning green…OH NO! GOTSTA GO! People like that do not need to be in your life. Imbalance resides there. Don’t give weight to it. 3. Indecision: “Procrastination.” Oh man, that’s a big one for me. “Make a decision. If you make dumb ones, then apologize. But just MAKE THE DECISION.” He mentions how there are just too many options today. It is so true. No matter where I go, or what it is I need to choose from, it’s all looking like the cereal aisle. Just send me a school picture! I don’t want to choose from five backgrounds! Unless it’s ice cream toppings or Netflix movies, just give me the basics. Options are just more opportunity for anxiety. 4. Integrity: What are you hiding? How many different lives are you leading? How many secret accounts do you have? That kind of thing. “It’s hard to have peace of mind when you aren’t living with integrity. If there’s 'work me,' 'after work me,' 'Friday night me,' and 'Sunday morning me,' ya might have a problem.” I have enough personalities without all that mess. But just deciding to change the parts of us that lack integrity, should put an end to most of it. Not everyone is going to understand you, but, still be you. With integrity. You shouldn’t have to run around being different you’s for different people. How tiring! But, it could be true that the different moods we experience are an outcome of a place where we do lack in integrity, or have lacked in the past, still haunting us because we haven’t worked through them yet.

& .


“Am I anxious because it’s just the rhythms of life creating it, or am I the one creating more waves than necessary?”

is focused in the right places, your heart immediately finds more peace, because you are doing what you are SUPPOSED to be doing.

5. Fix your intention:

6. Imagination:

Get out of your own head. It’s not all about you. It’s not all about me. Our imaginations can have us thinking all kinds of crazy things, putting us in the “woe is me” mindset. Trust me. I’m the spokesperson for this. “How are people thinking about me? They’re not! How come she didn’t speak to me? Well, how come you didn’t speak to HER?!” Think about others, serve others, of course, keeping in mind what weight you give to whom. Most of my weight in life in focused towards the chiiildreeen. It’s supposed to be right now. And I know that in my heart. It seems like a lot of the time it may not be, but that’s just the voices in my noisy head. All four of them, at least. When your intention

Am I the only one who hears SpongeBob saying “ImaginAAtion” as he draws that rainbow over his head? Then, I see him and Patrick sitting in the cardboard box… the one that is really a fighter jet inside? Yeah, I think I’m good on this one. “Take back that place in you that used to be playful, that used to make up games as a kid.” One difference between a child’s mind and an adult’s mind is that it has gone from a playground to a battlefield, blocking out simplicity and goodness. Fighting a constant war would give anyone anxiety. I do know if I make myself jump on the trampoline with my daughter or watch my son play a video game, my mind is immediately off the battlefield.

7. Isolation: “I” is right in the middle of anxious, but the word ends with “us.” Can’t go it alone and it really does help to know others are feeling the same way. Don’t be afraid to tell someone about Lil’ Annie. It takes an Army to fight a battle, so utilize your soldiers. If anxiety has been beeping loudly in your ear lately, consider watching that video. Or search for what will help you personally. But don’t ignore it. She can sit behind the table, in squiggle form, but she doesn’t have to sit AT the table anymore. The other three, well, as long as they don’t let anyone else on board at the next meeting, I’m not going to worry about it. “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.” Matthew 6:34

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Imagine your dog gets hit by a car and breaks his leg. I don’t want any harm to come to your dog, but bear with me for a bit. It’s just pretend. In this scenario, let's say your dog has a badly fractured femur, with multiple fragments; and it’s an open fracture, with the broken bone visible from the outside - what used to be called a compound fracture. Thankfully, there are no internal injuries, but this type of fracture usually requires an orthopedic specialist to fix it, as opposed to a general practitioner. How would you feel if you were told that your dog had to wait four days to have his broken leg repaired? There could be several reasons to wait. Some dogs are not stable enough for immediate surgery.

Sometimes, owners have to make economic decisions about whether they can afford to have a specialist repair the fracture. Sometimes, meticulous planning has to go into the repair; these days, surgeons might even use advanced imaging and 3D printers to get a true view of the fracture (especially if it's a pelvis) so that they can better plan their approach and even create implants that will fit the dog precisely! And sometimes, it's simply a matter of scheduling.

Orthopedic surgeries can be complex. They’re a mix of physics, carpentry and biology; that’s why, in many cases, only someone with specific skill and experience can fix bones. I can do lots of surgeries – C-section, remove a spleen, take a rock out of the intestines, even repair some fractures – but there are many orthopedic cases I would never touch. Without the proper training and experience and equipment, I could make things much worse. And I like carpentry!

This uncomfortable situation is one I have been in with many patients and owners. What can we do in these cases?

If you’ve landed at a veterinary ER in a specialty center, they might be able to transfer a complicated case internally to an orthopedic surgeon. Stand-alone ERs and general practitioners don’t usually have orthopedic surgeons on staff because there isn’t enough ortho work to cover a surgeon’s salary.

Many bone fractures are not true medical emergencies. And, contrary to what you might have heard, surgeons are people too. Like all people, surgeons do their best work when they’re well-rested and they’re not forced to work through the wee hours of the morning. If I first see your dog on Thursday afternoon when he gets hit, and I contact the surgeon on Friday morning, there’s a good chance that his or her schedule is full. I can beg and plead, but there are only so many hours in the day.

Dr. Jeff recommends using:




Asking a surgeon to fit a complicated procedure involving specialized instruments and a good chunk of time into an already booked (double-booked?) day may not work. Some may keep a few slots open for those complicated cases that might come in, but often, schedules are full.

If we’re lucky, I may have a few surgeons in town to choose from, so I make calls to them, too. In south Louisiana, the LSU Veterinary School is an option, and they often have a more flexible schedule and larger staff than private-practice surgeons. I spend a good deal of time on the phone, and maybe even call in a favor or two. Maybe we’ll get lucky and get the bone fixed on Friday.

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Or maybe not. In some areas, there may be only one or two specialists who can do the job. (As an aside, there are general practitioners who do orthopedics; I am not saying only specialists can do bones, but just that this case probably requires one.) Or, I might be all out of favors. If I try those folks and no one can get your dog in for surgery, what then? It’s usually possible to keep your dog out of pain with medication, and keeping the activity level down will help too. As long as the patient is stable, then pain control becomes our main priority. Now we are faced with the weekend. I’m not saying it’s impossible to get a bone fixed on a weekend. Many larger referral/specialty centers - like the Vet School - are trying to offer services seven days a week and may have enough staff to spread among the days of the week to be able to do it, but it’s still not the norm. So we have to get your dog through the weekend, probably grinding our teeth with frustration the whole time. And the medical cost meter is running. Even with minimal care pain meds, nursing care - a weekend wait can add $500 or more to a bill, and orthopedics can be expensive. The titanium plate that may be used to fix a broken bone can be hundreds of dollars alone, and then there’s the surgeon’s time, anesthesia, other supplies, etc. It all adds up, and a broken bone can easily cost $3,000 or more in ideal circumstances. The last hurdle is the Monday schedule, and there’s no guarantee that we’ll get in Monday. Mondays are busy times in veterinary ERs and specialty practices; it’s possible that a patient with a life-threatening injury might bump our slot; remember, your dog is stable. This is why I try not to offer firm guarantees of a Monday surgery slot, even if the injury happened the week before. It’s a reality of modern veterinary surgery. I’ve had patients bumped to Tuesday from a Monday surgery slot, and it’s a terrible feeling. But with proper pain management, it may be the most appropriate decision. Incidentally, sometimes it’s not all that different for people with orthopedic injuries, although you’re a little more likely to get a bone fixed on the weekend (or even at night) than pets are. But many human patients have to live with injuries for days until they can get them fixed, and the schedule is usually the culprit. It’s hard when logistics and scheduling get in the way of pets getting the care they deserve, but when there’s only a few folks in town who can get the job done, sometimes we have to do the best we can. I hope if this happens to you, your vet tries to pull out all the stops and get you that Friday fix, but if it can’t happen, you’ll understand why. And hopefully the procedure will eventually be done in a controlled, well-staffed environment, with a great outcome.

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

Love them! Paul & Julie Wood don ated two full days of photography at Jazz on the Bayou! This is a rare break at the Slidell Mag table

ller, John Case, Slidell Mag’s Storyte lebrating the with wife Brenda, ce st book, we ne his of release d and Cooled we Saucered Coffee, Ble

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94 - May


Gay DiGiovanni and Slid ell Mag writer and cover artist, Rose Ma rie Sand, walked in the March for Our Liv es. Students from Marjorie Stoneman Do uglas High School organized a march ag ainst gun violence in DC, and over 800 ot her organized marches to communities show suuport

ous! e at Rooftop Rendezv A windy & wonderful tim dolyn & Miss Rosemary en l-r: Jonna Turner, Gw Michele Beisler Clement, Kendra, and

ell Mag Editor, Jazz on the Bayou! Slid What a divine group at as The Wine Goddess), is joined by sed Kendra Maness (dres l, Miss Rosemary , Melba Houvenaeghe sse Pay Fr. r, sto OLL Pa Nell Laporte d an n lma Ho , Linda Clement, Leo Jackson

Laura Borchert supporting: 1. The New Orleans Tricentennial Celebration; 2. The Rosie program benefiting Habitat for Humanity; 3. Children’s cancer research through the Great Cycle Challenge

What a great pic! Our friend, Gina Triay of Tall Tails Pet Sitting, with one of her more unusual clients, Hamlet. Soooo cute!

Awwww... Slidell Magazine’s goa t mascot, Suzy, as seen from our office window. She’s slee ping off a full morning of shooting hoops (not really)

Slidell Magazine - 94th Edition  
Slidell Magazine - 94th Edition