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Welcome t o The Boot As we embark on this new and stimulating challenge, we look forward to presenting you with the most entertaining magazine possible. Our mission is to capture the essence of the people of Louisiana and celebrate our rich, diverse culture. We hope to enlighten our audience through our tales about the many exciting facets of life in Louisiana â€“ Music, Sports, Entertainment, Food, Politics, and everything else which makes up the fabric of our heritage. We will be bringing our stories to life through artistic writing and brilliant pictures. We will also look ahead to explore any and all media avenues which will allow us to share our magazine with as many people as possible. We hope you will join us in this adventure aimed at entertaining the extraordinary people of Louisiana!
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Contributing Writers Eric Freeman Linnie Leavines Matt Moscona Photography Kevinâ€™s Cajun Seafood photos taken by Rocky Miller Nicole Johnson photos taken by Glenn Sweitzer
MM: So how does a guy from Denham Springs end up fighting in the UFC? KB: Joe Silva, the UFC matchmaker, says ‘If you can fight, I’ll find you’. He does a good job of knowing who’s coming up and who’s on the way out. Eventually if you’re doing well, you’re going to get noticed. Everybody always says it comes sooner than they think. That’s exactly what happened to me. I was doing well and figured I needed one good name opponent and while we were working on that I got a phone call and that was it. MM: I’m the type of person who has only gotten in a fight for self defense. What is it that a fighter has that a normal guy like me doesn’t that allows you to go into an arena and try to beat the shit out of someone who has never done anything to wrong you? KB: I don’t look at it that way. You hear the term ‘Chess Match’… MM: That’s a violent game of Chess. KB: (Laughs) But it really is. I’m not really trying to hurt this guy. It’s just what do I have to do to be effective versus what he’s doing to me. Getting hit is underrated. You’re in there to fight, and that’s what’s gonna happen. So when you get hit, you don’t overreact to it.
A Louisiana native and professional mixed martial arts fighter. He owns a professional record of 14 wins, 7 losses and 1 No Contest.
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MM: What’s the most pain you’ve been in during a fight. KB: Honestly, I don’t think you really feel pain a lot. Being out of shape against a guy who’s coming hard against you is the scariest thing I’ve felt. MM: There wasn’t one moment where you went, “Damn, that hurt”? KB: Actually in my last fight, I dislocated my thumb a little bit on a punch. I left my thumb out and I missed and it got caught somehow and I felt it immediately, which is a rare thing. MM: What goes through your mind as you enter the Octagon? KB: So much excitement because of all the training. If you do it right, you’re ready to go. And I’ve done it wrong before where I felt like I wish I had another week to train. This last fight, I was having so much fun training, I was anxious to feel the burn. I wanted moments in that fight that were crazy. MM: You lost your last fight to Rafael Dos Anjos. What was the moment like when you heard the judges decision?
KB: It wasn’t a big shock. I knew coming into the third round I had to win the round or finish the fight. What happened was within the first minute he got a takedown and the guy was a world class grappler and he stayed on top for a good minute and a half or two minutes. At that point I knew I needed to make something happen so I pushed a little harder but he got another takedown. It wasn’t a big surprise to me when the decision came out that he won. MM: How frustrating was it? KB: If you watch the fight, the last ten seconds, I’m on my back and I just started hammer fisting him and he’s doing the same thing to me. I knew at that point I had lost a decision and he knew he had won a decision. So it was almost like we were two kids in the schoolyard fighting. Nobody was going to finish anybody. We were just trying to get our last licks in before the bell rang. MM: Can you make a comfortable living fighting if you’re not a Chuck Liddell or Randy Couture? KB: You definitely can. Guys like Couture and Liddell are superstars but everybody starts the same. There’s a kid named Evan Dunham who came in on a minimum fight contract with the UFC but he’s 3-0 and just renegotiated his contract. If he goes on another two or three fight winning streak, he could be making $80,000 a fight. It all happens so fast. In a year’s time you can go from having a part time job to being on billboards and making six figures when you fight.
go to the hospital and his parents weren’t too happy about that. MM: I can’t imagine why. KB: (laughs) I definitely can’t mess with them too much anymore. MM: What’s up with the tattoos in MMA? KB: I’ve never really thought about it until a read an article in a tattoo magazine. The reason I was reading it is because it had a lot of fighters in it and they asked a similar question. The best answer I heard had something to do with the people who are drawn to fighting are the same that have the extremist mentality and it’s the same mentality that draws them to permanently mark up their body. MM: How many do you have? KB: Five. Wait. (Counting) Three. Four. Five. Yeah I have five.
MM: Any significance to them? KB: They all have significance. The one on my chest has the most significance. It says “Live and Know.” And basically because I kept getting the question what does it feel like to fight and the best answer I can give is ‘you’ll never know.’ You will never know what it’s like to walk in the cage and see all the people and the TV cameras. You’ll never know what it’s like until you actually do it. So, it’s kind of a motto that I started living by. If I’m curious about something, if I really want to know what it’s all about then I’m gonna try to do it. You will never know what it’s like to walk in the cage and see all the people and the TV cameras. You’ll never know what it’s like until you actually do it. So, it’s kind of a motto that I started living by. If I’m curious about something, if I really want to know what it’s all about then I’m gonna try to do it.
~ Matt Moscona is the host of “After Further Review” weekdays from 3-5pm on ESPN Radio 104.5 FM in Baton Rouge. ~ Matt also writes a column for Bayoubengalsinsider.com.
MM: Speaking of part time jobs, you coach junior high football on the side. What’s the closest you’ve come to putting a kid in a leg lock? KB: I wrestle around with them all the time. I did get in trouble one time about six or seven years ago. There was this kid and we were play fighting and I kicked him. He had a helmet on, but my foot went up under his facemask and I split his lip and he had to have stitches in his lip. It was obviously an accident. He knew it was an accident, but he had to thebootmagazine.com
If you haven’t
heard of 15-year-old singer/songwriter
, it’s because she’s only been at this for about a year and a half. But now’s the time to start paying attention, as this bold talent is determined to take Nashville and the country music world by storm. With the support of her family and the knowledge and vision of producer and co-writer Keith Follese, the sky is the limit for Nicole. She always dreamed of becoming a star in the music industry, but Johnson never envisioned this type of ascension into the spotlight. “I’ve always loved music,” she says. “Since I was little, I’ve been running around the house and singing songs. I’ve wanted to be a singer my whole life.” Just a short time ago, she was a budding student and basketball player at Denham Springs Freshman High. Then in October 2008, while singing at a local studio, she was overheard by local DJ Scott Innes. Before she knew it, her voice was lighting up the local airwaves. Her song, “If Jesus Came Back,” co-written by Innes and local songwriters Scott and Lisa Feske, was being played on regional radio stations, jumpstarting Johnson’s quest for superstardom. Nicole’s Mom, Shannon, took her to the Music City for the first time last January and she was hooked. Keith Follese, Johnson’s producer, is no stranger to working with up and coming talent and developing it into a successful career. His own two sons are in a rising rock band named Hot Chelle Rae. Nor is he new to collaborating with award winning mega-stars, producing for country stars Emerson Drive and Adam Gregory and co-writing #1 hits for Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride and Randy Travis. In 2002, Follese was named BILLBOARD magazine’s SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR. So when he met Nicole Johnson on MySpace in May of last year, it didn’t take very long for him to recognize that she possessed the same undeniable talent. Johnson has a compelling voice that is “way, way ahead of the curve,” says Follese. When you hear her belt out renditions of “Rose Garden” by Lynn Anderson and “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant, it is difficult to fathom that she isn’t quite old
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enough to get her driver’s license. Despite her young age and relative inexperience, she carries herself with maturity beyond her years and commands the stage effortlessly when performing. “I thought it would be fun and glamorous, but I found out it’s a bunch of work, but I love it”, she says. The natural comparison for someone who hasn’t met Johnson is Taylor Swift, another young and hot country music superstar. However, the similarities between the two stop at young and hot. Contrasting Swift’s bubbly and upbeat style, Johnson’s edginess reminds listeners of one of her favorite artists and one of the biggest names in country music, Miranda Lambert. Follese described her unique combination of brashness and powerful vocals as “Patti Loveless meets The Kentucky Headhunters.” In a track that Johnson co-wrote, “I Do but I Don’t,” she sings about deciding whether or not to kiss a boy under the bleachers at a high school football game. Another song she co-wrote, “Gone like the Dinosaurs,” was originally titled “Boys Suck.” After listening to a few of her interpretations of life as a teenage girl, it’s clear that Johnson won’t be singing cutesy songs about butterflies and love at first sight. Johnson is really just scratching the surface of what the future holds. Her potential is well beyond a developmental record deal or an audition on American Idol. As her producer Follese puts it, “Nicole is ready NOW!” This young star in the making is enjoying every minute of this journey and is not looking back. So start paying attention and remember her name, because Nicole Johnson is Coming Soon…….
n mid-January, the Postsecondary Education Review Commission rejected an attempt to cap funding for the state’s merit-based scholarship program – the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, or TOPS – after Gov. Bobby Jindal announced his support for the program, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Four days later, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported the state’s need-based financial aid program, known as “Go Grants,” had its funding cut by more than 20 percent. Let me save you some time: the Louisiana Legislature wants rich people to stay here for college, but also thinks poor people should stop trying. Fundamentally, the idea of TOPS is a good one: keep students with high test scores in state by offering to pay their way. Better students make better schools, right?
Meanwhile, Go Grants, a $34 million state scholarship fund based solely on financial need, is cutting its budget by $7.8 million, the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance’s total share of January’s $84 million cut in higher education. Nothing was taken from TOPS’ $130 million budget, but the $34 million Go Grants program was cut by more than 20 percent. Had TOPS been cut by the same percentage, it would be more than the entire Go Grants budget. These actions also serve to further institutionalize
GO GRANTS TAKES THE FALL IN THE STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE CUTS Wrong. Because of constitutional limitations, the state Legislature has been dealing with cutting over $250 million to the state’s higher education budget. As a result, hundreds of teachers and instructors around the state are losing their jobs. Less teachers mean higher teacher-to-student ratios, severely limiting the quality of all learning. In this respect, the state’s budget cuts are singlehandedly the biggest threat to Louisiana’s higher education, so much so that LSU’s English Department held a funeral for the school as it once was.
racism against the black poor. A clear link exists between income and higher education. In Louisiana, the second-poorest state in the nation where the poor are disproportionately black, the cuts to Go Grants without accompanying TOPS cuts prove that discrimination is alive and well in the 21st century. This also shows the continued need for affirmative action, Barack Obama’s election be damned. Politicians love to preach about how children are the future and about everything needing to be done to preserve and secure that future. With these cuts, our leaders’ message is loud and clear. For the state’s wealthiest students, higher education is a right. For the poor, it’s a privilege. ~ E.F.
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with Eric Freeman, Jr. & Linnie Leavines Often, sacrifice entails choosing the lesser of the two evils. In light of the $3 billion deficit Louisiana is expecting to face in the next two years, such sacrifices have been made across the board. The most contested cuts have been leveled at Louisiana’s higher education programs, the most recent example being the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance’s decision to trim the Go Grants program by $7.8 million. LOSFA, faced with their quota and deadline, had little other choice, particularly because the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students is off limits. The decision to cut Go Grants was born of strategic necessity. LOSFA was right to do so, for two reasons. The first reason is ideological, and satisfies the question of entitlement. Being an advocate of rewarding hard work regardless of financial background, I find it easy to rationalize favoring TOPS exclusively. The Go Grants program, conversely, does not reward exceptional academic achievements.
Though cutting Go Grants will undoubtedly affect those in the low to moderate income bracket, these individuals are hardly a pigeonholed demographic, given that TOPS is open to all levels of income. To assume a needs-based scholarship trim is a universal slap in the face of the lower income students in Louisiana presumes insulting stereotypes about their intellectual capacity. They have just as much a chance at a performancebased scholarship as any other demographic. This decision is hardly the fruit of discrimination. Moreover, TOPS is hardly out to get those in financial straits. If anything, TOPS is fairer in that it does not discriminate on basis of personal income – which is utterly unrelated to intellectual prowess, by the way. The decision to prioritize TOPS over Go Grants isn’t merely a matter of choosing who gets what – it’s a matter of effectively reducing the state’s deficit. Given the monetary challenges Louisiana is facing, this decision was the least exclusive and most beneficial, even considering its unpleasant byproducts. ~ L.L.
The second reason deals solely with fiscal policy. Given the long-term goal of saving public money, this motive also favors TOPS. Considering TOPS students are probably more likely to circuitously reimburse the public with their innovative business To assume a needs-based scholarship trim practices, prioritizing this program is the is a universal slap in the face of the lower obvious choice. Assuming TOPS students are income students in Louisiana presumes inproductive is reasonable, given they had to prove this trait to initially access the prosulting stereotypes about their intellectual gram. capacity. The wealth generated by encouraging and financing such individuals would contribute greatly to offsetting the deficit by means of taxing their cumulative goods and services.
Kevin’s Cajun Seafood, located off Highway 22 in Maurepas on the Amite River Diversion Canal, does an excellent job of mixing traditional southern seafood trappings with the sophisticated ambience of modern culture. Clearly, this is a restaurant made with something more than typical boondock fare in mind. Kevin’s décor is sophisticated yet not pretentious, and laid out well to counteract crowding. The music, resisting the temptation to drawl and blare, is subtly upbeat; conversation carries easily. Kevin and Jaynelle Delatte, the owners, are pleasantly indulgent and hands-on, concerning both their food and their customers. Highly recommended among Jaynelle’s drinks is the Pears Hilton Martini ($ 7.95). Typically, the notion of combining Paris Hilton with vodka would be enough to upset my stomach, but this drink mercifully surpasses its namesake to turn sublime results. Conversely, Kevin is responsible for the restaurant’s staples, which are made entirely from scratch. For the appetizers, the Spinach and Artichoke Dip with fried bowtie pasta ($7.99) was a welcome deviation from the predictable and dull chips-and-dip standby. Another appetizer recommendation is the Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers ($6.49), and the Crawfish Beignets ($7.79) which highlight Kevin’s own remarkable take on Creole seasoning. Their most popular Specialty Dinner is the Cajun Plate ($16.99), which includes fried shrimp and catfish, stuffed crab, seafood gumbo, and fries. Also notable is the Crab Trap ($19.99), a hefty platter featuring seafood gumbo, and crab prepared in four different ways. Not to be ignored are the Crawfish Bayou ($19.49), which prepares several portions of crawfish in every way imaginable, and the Shrimp Trawl ($19.49), which treats shrimp in the same manner. For those with lighter appetites, the Seafood Gumbo will more than suffice. The gumbo’s shrimp portion in particular is a treat and complements the rest of the mixture nicely. Chef special menus are available Fridays and Saturdays. Kevin’s also boasts a rich dessert menu, featuring various cheesecakes which are not to be overlooked. Reservations are taken for large parties, but in limited amounts, and a back room is available for privacy. Additionally, Kevin’s offers a takeout service for hurried patrons.
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