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WWW.TIMESSW.COM • JANUARY 22, 2009 / VOL. 14, NO. 2

SWLA Festival Calendar

The Auto Industry in SWLA: Look for Bargains as Dealers Struggle

The Times Investigates White Building Purchase


ZYDEFEST IV Featuring: J. Paul & The Nu Breeds, Step Rideau, Brian Jack and Marcus Ardoin

PERFORMING LIVE in the Delta Event Center • SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2009 DOORS OPEN AT NOON, SHOW FROM 1PM - 10PM • FREE ADMISSION WITH B CONNECTED CARD MUST BE 21 OR OLDER TO ATTEND Some events may contain profanity or other content of an adult nature. Subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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JANUARY 22, 2009


GENERAL . . . . . . . . . . . 617 Drew St., Lake Charles, LA 70601 Phone: 337-439-0995 Fax: 337-439-0418 PUBLISHERS Patrick Marcantel Scot Hebert

januar y 22, 2009 Volume 14 • Number 2

contents

. . . . . . .

NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . MANAGING EDITOR Lauren de Albuquerque lauren.dealbuquerque@timessw.com

EDITOR Lisa Yates timesedit@timessw.com

CONTRIBUTORS Kay Andrews Sara Blackwell Jim Doyle Melvin Gehrig, M.D. William Hart, M.D. Matt Jones Alan LaCoste, M.D. Edward Leger Lisa Miller Terri Schlichenmeyer

23 32 E N T E R P R I S E B O U L E VA R D White Building Purchase Defended . .5

POLITICS John Maginnis Dan Juneau ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Andy Jacobson

COLUMNS . . . . . .

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Patricia Prudhomme Shanda Sonnier GRAPHICS . . . . . . . . ART/PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Darrell Buck BUSINESS . . . . . . . . . OFFICE MANAGER Shalonda Gims The Times of Southwest Louisiana is published every two weeks by Patsco Publishing, 617 Drew Street, Lake Charles Louisiana 70601. Phone (337) 439-0995. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $30 per year. Bulk mailing permit #9 paid at Lake Charles, La. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Times of Southwest Louisiana, 617 Drew Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601. FAX to (337) 439-0418. The Times of Southwest Louisiana cannot be held responsible for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations, even if they are sent to us accompanied by a self-addressed envelope. Copyright 2009 The Times of Southwest Louisiana all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission is prohibited. DISTRIBUTION: The Times of Southwest Louisiana is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. The Times of Southwest Louisiana may be distributed only by The Times of Southwest Louisiana authorized distributors. No person may, without prior written permission of The Times of Southwest Louisiana, take more than one copy of each monthly issue from its racks.

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Who’s News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Legal Eagle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Business Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Inside Baton Rouge . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

COVER STORY Keeping Sight on Your Eye Sight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

F E AT U R E S Auto Industry in SWLA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Home Grown: Delicious Donuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 SWLA Festival Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

E N T E R TA I N M E N T Times Picks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Book Beat: Rich Like Them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Out on Home Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Crossword Puzzle: “Worst of 2008” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 12th Night Gets the Good Times Rolling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 The Shadow: The Bus Stops Here . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Parting Shots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38

Visit us online at: www.timessw.com JANUARY 22, 2009

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LETTERS Louisiana Dreamin’— Mules, Wishes and Palm Trees A long, long time ago (three decades) in a town far, far away (Austin) a law professor, responding to my perpetual whining, told me that “any old mule can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.” It took me a while to figure out he was calling me an ass. His dense lectures have long since dissolved into the dust from which they sprang, but his rustic metaphors remain. In Southwest Louisiana, a lot of carpenters throughout the fiveparish area are busy hammering into place the first timbers of an ambitious vision for a new Louisiana. Inevitably, a background chorus of would-be Cassandras is gloomily forecasting failure. A few weeks back, the City of Lake Charles hosted a mini-media event to show off a dozen palm trees at the Civic Center. Planted at a cost of about $100,000, the trees turned into lightning rods. At the same time, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) planted a couple of “Building the Future” signs for $400 each. They’re too little, too late, some say. Others say the trees and

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signs are frivolous money-wasters that won’t bring a single tourist or venture capitalist to town or keep any of our best and brightest from leaving the area. True, it’s going to be tough figuring the return on investment on the trees and signs in dollar terms. In fact, planners hurried up and planted the trees to show some visible signs of return on the people’s $90 million investment they made in 2007. But, in an age where image truly is everything and instant gratification rules, the trees represent a vision turning into reality. That reality’s happening, but most of the work done to date is transparent. Sewers and utility and PowerPoint progress charts aren’t very sexy, but they are important. The work done in the short time since the bond passed will pay dividends for this area for decades to come. It’s a pretty good sign, actually, that people are getting impatient. One of the many truly remarkable things about this area is that people tend not to sit around waiting for the other guy to do something, but just jump in and start working. The

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JANUARY 22, 2009

THE

EDITOR

above-mentioned professor also told me (I griped a lot back in the day) that I should wish in one hand and poop in the other and see which hand filled up the fastest. People here, galvanized by some really bad hurricanes and inspired to action by a hard-charging governor, aren’t sitting around anymore wishing for more jobs and fun things to do, or wishing we had all the goodies Lafayette has. They’re doing something. Lakefront/Downtown Development, the most visible part of the bond issue, is guided by a group of unpaid citizens. The plans set out in the bond proposal were pretty much determined by the public participating in charrettes (a fancy name for town hallstyle meetings) held following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. People saw the once-in-a-lifetime chance to not just rebuild, but to build a whole new future for themselves and their children. The bond issue itself is part of a region-wide effort to make Southwest Louisiana the cornerstone of the vision quest for a new Louisiana. Lafayette who? The bottom line is that people here aren’t just beautifying down-

town or sprucing up the lakefront or even attracting new business and industry to Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes. They’re building a quality of life that will be, given the tremendous resources and assets they have, unmatched in the nation. The naysayers will continue to say nay but, as Professor Charles Alan Wright said, you can’t win a stink fight with a skunk. That means he was calling me a skunk as well as an ass. Or a stinky old mule. Bill Krull, Lake Charles, LA

Submitting a “Letter to the Editor” Send your comments for consideration by email to timesedit@timessw.com or fax to 439-0418, or mail to 617 Drew Street, Lake Charles, Louisiana, 70601. Include your name, address, phone number and other pertinent information. We will not print anonymous comments.


NEWS

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SOUTHWEST

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ENTERPRISEBOULEVARD Parish's Building Purchase is Staunchly Defended Officials respond to criticism levied by taxpayers By Lisa Yates esponding to taxpayers’ pointed criticism of spending $4.9 million for the Sprint U.S. Unwired building, parish leaders staunchly defended the purchase and praised it as a good deal for taxpayers. Taxpayers, including Charles “Sharkey” Cox, a Lake Charles businessman, questioned why parish leaders paid this amount, when the same building sold for $3.4 million just a few weeks prior. “I don’t begrudge anyone making money,” he said. “There’s just not enough information about it.” Like many taxpayers in the parish, Cox is asking some tough questions. Why does the government need a new skyscraper? Also, who stands to gain from this purchase? Parish leaders agreed to an interview with The Times in an attempt to answer these questions, and more.

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Calcasieu Parish Administrator Mark McMurry said once all of the facts are known, the public will understand why the jurors voted unanimously (at its regular meeting on Dec. 18, 2008) in favor of the purchase. Why not buy directly from Sprint? McMurry said one of the misconceptions people have is that the police jury did not approach Sprint to purchase the building directly. “We did try to buy the building from Sprint knowing full well that the property beneath it was owned by the investors,” he said. “We made an offer that was slightly higher than the investor’s.” McMurry said Sprint wanted to sell the building, but said the company expressed concerns about a potential lawsuit from the investment group. In a separate interview, a spokesman for White Building LLC, confirmed the investment group had grounds for a lawsuit. “We have had the Sprint building tied up with contracts and/or litigation since February, 2008,” he said. “We have no idea when the Police Jury became interested in the building and were surprised to hear that the Police Jury approached Sprint about buying the building after Sprint had agreed to sell the building to us. Had Sprint reneged on its agreement to sell to us, it certainly would have resulted in more litigation.” Members of White Building LLC, which sold the building to the parish, include local businessmen David Reinaur, Rick Richard, Tom Shearman, Billy Blake, Art Hollins and George Gragson. McMurry explained that this was “an unusual situation” because the Sprint building was sitting on leased property owned by the investors. Prior to White Building LLC ownership, the property was held by two separate land owners – each with a lease/purchase agreement with Sprint. One of these landowners held property underneath the 11-story office building, while the other owned property under the parking garage, plus an adjacent piece of land. After more than a year of negotiations, the investment group purchased these, and other, tracts of land, Continued on Page 6

Who’s News Michael C. Turner, M.D., of Lake Charles recently received the distinction of being a “Diplomate of the Certification Board of Computed Tomography.” Dr. Turner is among the first 715 physicians to be certified in Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (CCT). CCT, or cardiac CT is a relatively new medical innovation that is emerging as integral piece of cardiovascular medicine. Dr. Turner, who throughout his career has continually brought cutting edge medical practices to Southwest Louisiana, has been utilizing this tool since January of 2006.Dr. Turner is one of a group of board-certified cardiologists that form Cardiovascular Specialists of Southwest Louisiana. The organization offers patients comprehensive cardiac care focusing on prevention and early intervention. Cardiovascular Specialists of Southwest Louisiana is located at 600 DeBakey Drive in Lake Charles and have additional locations in Sulphur, Moss Bluff, DeQuincy, DeRidder, Jennings and Kinder. For more information on Dr. Turner or the Cardiovascular Specialists of Southwest Louisiana, visit www.csswla.com or contact Jen Breen at 478-7396 or jbreen@ocarroll.com. Brett M. Cascio, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist whose practice focuses primarily on knee, shoulder, and hip injuries, recently joined Drs. Nathan Cohen, David Drez, Jr., Scott Hofer and Dennis Walker with Orthopaedic Specialists, as well as the staff of Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.A New Orleans native, Dr. Cascio is a graduate of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He Dr. Brett M. Cascio completed his internship and residency at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and his fellowship at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado, where he participated in Continued on Page 7 JANUARY 22, 2009

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Ent. Blvd., Continued from Page 5

before attempting to purchase the building. During negotiations, however, McMurry believed there was a short “window of opportunity” to deal directly with Sprint for the building. An offer was made “in writing” directly to Sprint. The administration provided The Times a copy of this offer, which is dated Nov. 7, 2008. McMurry said this information is available to the public. Also, he insisted there was no collaboration with White Building, LLC to deceive the public. “We didn’t talk to the investors until Sprint turned down our offer,” he said. “We knew that if Sprint had accepted our offer, we would still have to get the land from the investors. We were willing to do that, even though it was not preferable.” The spokesman for White Building LLC, also denied any wrongdoing during the transaction. “Our first knowledge of the police jury’s interest in the building came after we bought the building,” he said. “Our dealings with the police jury were always at arm’s length. Our decision to sell to the police jury was a difficult one weighing smaller, immediate profits against larger long-term profits that might be adversely affected by the weakening economy.”

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Why pay more than the investors? McMurry said the $4.9 million price tag paid by the parish included more than just a new building. It included the following: • The 11-story Sprint building, plus the land underneath it; • A multi-level parking garage, the land underneath it; • An additional tract of land, held by one of the original owners; and, • Four separate, but adjoining tracts of land downtown. In all, McMurry said this transaction resulted in the acquisition of more than 101,000 square feet of downtown property near the courthouse and administration offices. Along with ownership, the parish was given the option to lease four additional tracts of land in the area, with an option to buy once the lease runs out. Cost of the lease is $96,700 a year for the four leases. Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President Hal McMillin said an independent appraisal came in at $5.1 million, meaning the parish paid less than the appraised value of the property. He said this appraisal is public record and available for public inspection. The parish also provided The Times a copy of the 150-page document,

which was prepared by Jack Bass, II, licensed real estate appraiser with Integra Realty Resources of Houston. “This is a national firm,” he said. “They are extremely familiar dealing with property this big and they were able to work within a short time frame.” He stated firmly that no impropriety was involved in preparing the appraisal. “I’ve been an elected official for the past 14 years,” McMillin said. “I would not cut a deal on the side to jeopardize the integrity of myself or the jury. We’re here to be public servants; and we’re trying to do the right thing for Calcasieu Parish.” He said the property was a great value for the price paid by the parish. “To get more than 101,000 square feet of contiguous property downtown near the courthouse and administration offices is great deal for the parish,” McMillin said. “They’re not making any more downtown property.” He added, the value of this property is likely to increase, given plans for future downtown development. What about the timing of this purchase? Echoing the concerns of some local citizens, Cox questioned whether this was the right time to be spending taxpayers’ money. “The timing of this was so poor,” he said. “I don’t think our tax dollars should be used this way when many people in town are being laid off from their jobs.” Cox added his property tax bill this year was significantly higher than the previous year. Officials said they have taken action to roll back property taxes in the parish, but they understand the worsening national economy is affecting many people in this area. “We have sensitivity to people’s problem,” McMurry said. At the same time, he said the parish’s administration must do the job it is hired to do. “Under state law, the police jury is obligated to house parish officials,” McMurry said. “This includes the staff and offices of the sheriff, district attorney, coroner, registrar of voters, district court, family and juvenile court, the clerk of court and tax assessor.” McMurry feared by not acting now, taxpayers would pay more in the long run. “This opportunity could have been lost for decades,” he said. The purchase and leasing option enabled the parish to add much needed additional parking near the courthouse and parish administration building, according to McMurry.

He said prior to the purchase, the parish was working with an architect to build an additional parking lot on a much smaller piece of property. “The cost of that project totaled $10 million,” McMurry said. “That would have added less parking at a greater cost. Now, in addition to the parking, the parish has an 11-story building.” Did the parish need an 11-story building? “Buying the building gives us options,” McMillin said. His parish administrator said the new building will enable the parish to save money on property, which it is now leasing to house staff with the District Attorney’s Office. McMurry said moving the D.A.’s staff will free some space allowing the parish to solve some overcrowding in the Family and Juvenile Court system. “Plans were drawn for a new Family and Juvenile Court building,” he said. “Estimated cost of that project was between $12 million and $13 million.” In addition, McMurry said $300,000 a year in revenue from tenants leasing the 11-story building offsets some of the parish’s operating expenses. He said occupancy is projected to grow with additional revenue expected. Both the parish administrator and the police jury president said they have been put on the defensive since an editorial critical of the purchase was aired on a local television station. They said public information laws were followed – local media was notified a week in advance. Also, information was posted on the parish’s Web site. In addition, each meeting is filmed and aired on the government channel for public viewing. McMurry said this transaction was handled properly, no differently than any other property and building acquisition. “There is nothing in our history to lead the public to believe that anything sinister was going on,” he said. McMillin said he has always had an “open door” policy, where constituents can call or visit with any questions they have. He said he received several calls from citizens asking about this issue. “Some folks were unclear about the process we must go through as a governmental body and the needs we have as a parish,” he said. “Once I explained, they were overwhelmingly in support of this purchase.”


Who’s News, Continued from Page 5

the care of the U.S. Ski, Colorado Rockies baseball, and Denver Bronco’s football teams. Dr. Cascio is also a major in the United States Army Reserves and served a tour in Afghanistan from December 2007 to March 2008, before resuming his practice in Kenner and his duties as an assistant professor of clinical orthopaedics and sports medicine at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. For more information, call Orthopaedic Specialists at (337) 494-4900. The office is located at 1717 Oak Park Boulevard, third floor, adjacent to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.

National Alliance on Mental Illness, to train law enforcement in the behaviors and actions of the mentally ill to ensure that proper enforcement decisions are made. SWLA CIT attendees at the national conference were Lt. David Anders and Kevin Hooper from the Lake Charles Police Department; Deputies Darek Ardoin, Mary Peirottie, John Casarez, Kim Sittig and Mark Vartuli from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Department; Mary Hebert, R.N., Assistant Director of ER Nursing at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital (LCMH); Misty Kelly, Director of LCMH’s Psychiatric Unit; Dick Tanous with Resource Management Services; and Mickey Shannon, Executive Director of Samaritan Counseling Center. Anders, Tanous and Shannon were also presenters at the conference. The title of their workshop was “CIT and the Media: a Mental Connection.” Tara Bell Hawkins, Esq., Administrative General Counsel for the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal, has been selected to participate in the Council for a Better Louisiana’s (CABL) 2009 Leadership Louisiana class. Hawkins is a 1997 graduate of Tulane University School of Law. In 1994, she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a marketing concentration from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. Hawkins is a member of the National Bar Association, the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA), and the Southwest Louisiana Bar Association. She is also a Louisiana Bar Foundation Fellow. Hawkins is a 14th Judicial District Representative to the LSBA House of Delegates, is the Minority Involvement Section’s Vice-Chair, serves on the LSBA’s Bench Bar and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Committees, and on the Louisiana Bar Foundation’s Judicial Liaison Committee.

Above: The Calcasieu Boat Club of Lake Charles recently held their annual Christmas meeting and elected officers for 2009. Newly elected officers are (back, from left to right) Commodore: Joe Vezina, Publicity: Vicki Vezina, Treasurer: Eddie Langley, Secretary: Bruce Maerhofer. (Front left, Vice-Commodore: Russ Grantham, and Party Chairman - Phil de Albuquerque. A membership drive for 2009 is in progress. Meetings are held at the clubhouse, located at the end of 210 LaFleur Park, on the second Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Joe Vezina at 912-1034. The Southwest Louisiana Partnership for Economic Development announced its 2009 officers, executive committee and advisors at its December board meeting. The appointees represent the communities within the five parishes served by the SWLA Partnership for Economic Development: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis. The SWLA Partnership for Economic Development is a member of the SWLA Economic Development Alliance. The 2009 Officers Chair, Mayor Ron Roberts of the City of DeRidder Vice Chair, Juror Hal McMillin of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Secretary, Mayor Carolyn Louviere of the Town of Welsh Treasurer, Ernie Broussard with Cameron Parish The 2009 Executive Committee Mayor Andrew Hayes - Oakdale Mayor Ron Roberts - DeRidder Mayor Estes LeDoux - Kinder Mayor Ron LeLeux - Sulphur Mayor Randy Roach - City of Lake Charles Mr. Ernie Broussard - Cameron Parish Planning & Development Mayor Carolyn Louviere - Town of Welsh Michael Holmes - Allen Parish Tina Horn - Cameron Parish Police Jury Betty Cunningham - Beauregard Parish Police Jury Hal McMillin - Calcasieu Parish Police Jury

Manley Jordan, M.D., was recently elected by his peers to serve as president of the Memorial Medical Staff for 2009. Dr. Jordan is a board certified pulmonologist with Pulmonology Associates of Southwest Louisiana. During his term of office, Dr. Jordan will work on such medical and professional issues as performDr. Manley Jordan ance improvement, quality assurance, and physician advocacy, and he will be an active part of Memorial’s Board of Trustees. Dr. Jordan succeeds Memorial radiologist Richard Martinez, MD, with Radiology Associates of Southwest Louisiana, who served as Medical Staff President in 2008. Thomas Strong, M.D., with Surgical Associates of Southwest Louisiana, will serve as president-elect and Brian Clements, M.D., with Internal Medicine Clinic of Lake Charles, will hold the position of Secretary-Treasurer.

Dr. Thomas Strong

Dr. Brian Clements

Southwest Louisiana CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) representatives attended the National CIT Conference in Atlanta last month. The purpose of the conference is to highlight the successes of CIT and to share learning experiences between groups across the country. The CIT program in SWLA was developed by the Lake Charles Police Department, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, and McNeese State University’s Psychology Department, in partnership with the local chapter of the JANUARY 22, 2009

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Calcasieu Parish Animal Services Receives Grant From PetSmart Calcasieu Parish received a $12,828 grant recently from PetSmart Charities to increase the number of low cost spay/neuter operations by 50 percent. The pet sterilization program was successfully started less than two years ago and has funded over 1,500 pet sterilizations in an effort to proactively fight the area’s dire pet overpopulation problem. The program offers spay/neuter services at a cost of $10 for cats and $20 for dogs. The program is offered through the cooperation of several local veterinarians. The applications for vouchers are at the Calcasieu Parish Animal Services and Adoption Center. Please bring proof of public assistance and a voucher will be issued at that time. “This program has been a huge success working with our local humane organizations, Animal Concern and Animal Angels,” said Diana Morales, Public Relation Outreach Coordinator for Animal Services. “Unfortunately, most of the grant money and funding available has been used. The cost will remain the same, but the program will be offered through the Animal Services and PetSmart Charities.” Morales said their partnership with local humane organizations will continue to grow. “We are extremely excited to be able to increase the number of surgeries by 256. That’s saving the lives of thousands of unborn puppies and kittens,” she said. Calcasieu Parish Animal Services and Adoption Center is a public health and enforcement agency. Over the years, Animal Services realized that the only way to stop the killing of unwanted animals is through aggressive spay and neuter programs. “It is our goal that no healthy, adoptable animal be euthanized due to lack of space,” said Morales. “With this goal in mind, we welcome the confidence PetSmart Charities has in our community. These types of partnerships will help to make our community a better place for pets and people.” If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call the office at (337) 721-3730, or come to the shelter at 5500 A Swift Plant Road, Lake Charles. The program is available to all residents of Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes who qualify. PAGE 8

JANUARY 22, 2009


Calcasieu Community Clinic Addresses

Needs of the Working Uninsured The most recent statewide study reveals the rate of uninsured adults aged 19-65 is 21.2 percent. This translates into approximately 720,000 adults with no health insurance who are living and working in Louisiana. The Calcasieu Community Clinic was established by a group of concerned physicians to address the needs of the growing population of lowincome, working uninsured persons in Southwest Louisiana. Their goal was to provide free quality healthcare to persons who helped themselves, but were unable to provide for their own health needs. The first clinic was held in February 2001. Almost eight years later, with an unduplicated patient base of over 2,100 persons, the Community Clinic has provided close to $3 million in total medical services to the community. Every Thursday evening during Clinic, volunteer physicians and nurses provide on-site health care while volunteer pharmacists staff the Clinic pharmacy to dispense the medications prescribed. Patients are referred out for lab tests, mammograms, or specialized services not available at the clinic. This is all done at no charge to the patient. Seventy-eight percent of the clinic’s patient population is female. Many of these women have never received mammogram services prior to their treatment at the Clinic. In 2002, a Mammogram Screening Program was started, which was initially funded with grant funds. The Clinic now holds an OB/GYN clinic once each quarter, and to date have provided over $30,000 in mammogram screenings. In addition, diagnos-

tic tests and ultra sounds are being made available in an effort to ensure that patients are given the best health care. Pap tests from OB/Gyn patients are referred to local labs for diagnostics. All patients receive free medications from the state-approved pharmacy located in the Clinic. While many of the medications prescribed must be purchased, the Clinic receives donations of medications from physician’s offices and nursing homes. The Clinic also subscribes to patient assistance programs offered through various pharmaceutical companies. The Calcasieu Community Clinic is financially dependent on the community it serves. It is housed at McNeese State University College of Nursing, which has provided the facility, free of charge, since the Clinic’s inception in 2000. The local Medical Society has remained steadfast in their support, and in addition to private donations and grants, the Clinic is supported by The United Way of Southwest Louisiana. The Calcasieu Community Clinic offers hope and well being to an often forgotten population of low-income, working uninsured persons. In the words of one of its patients, “The Clinic provides me with an opportunity to see a doctor and [receive] over $800 in life-saving medication every month. It is virtually impossible for me to buy this medicine myself. If it weren’t for the Clinic, I don’t know if I would still be alive, much less be able to work.” For more information on the Calcasieu Community Clinic, call (337) 478-8650.

Value of Services February 2001 to November 2008 Number of Clinics Held Patients Served at Clinic Dental Patients (began in 2004) Total Patients Served Number of Prescriptions filled Value of Prescriptions Total Value of Clinic Services

371 9321 362 9683 21,137 $1,450,377.11 $2, 936,552.69

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To all buyers from the 2008 Calcasieu Jr. Livestock Premium Sale for supporting their project work last year. More importantly they would like to invite all buyers (businesses and individuals) to this year’s sale.

It’s January 31st at 10:00 a.m. in Burton Coliseum. Over 250 exhibitors selling their livestock animals. For more information please contact the LSU Ag Center’s 4-H Office

475-8812

JANUARY 22, 2009

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The Auto Industry in SWLA: Bargains are There as Dealers Struggle

Navarre continues to lead Navarre Chevrolet continues to lead in sales in our area, maintaining a 25+ percent share of the market for more than 10 years. The Silverado is a great truck, and the Honda car is about as good as an import gets.

sell Mazda to Mark or someone else. Time to buy? So, is this the ideal time to buy? According to the experts, it is. Edmunds.com, a valuable tool for car buyers, NADA (National Auto Dealers Association) and LADA (Louisiana Auto Dealers Association) are all telling car buyers that there are plenty of good deals and lots of money to be had. Dealers have plenty of inventory, and very little time to move the merchandise under the factories’ new floor plan programs. But remember, just as in the real estate market, lenders have grown gun-shy of “No Money Down.” So make sure you have good credit and are able to put something down on top of your trade, and do your car-buying homework

Nissan of Lake Charles has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. John Stelly’s team sold 1,159 Nissan cars and trucks for 2008. Right behind in third place is Mark Dodge with 1,077. We understand Mark is looking to add an import line, which could put him in second place for 2009. Since Radford sold its Buick franchise to Jack Hebert at All Star Pontiac in Sulphur, one would think that the Mazda franchise would be up for sale as well, leaving the dealership space wide open for a really nice used car lot if Radford does in fact

before leaving the house by surfing Web sites such as Edmunds.com. As for the dealers, they will continue to fight for a bigger share of the market as they try to survive during these tough times. Automakers will throw designs in the air to see if something will fly as they listen to the angry taxpayers who say Congress should have let the Big Three take bankruptcy and operate under reorganization. One thing is certain: There’s plenty of guilt to go around regarding the automaker’s decisions in prior years. And so it goes in the auto business.

go down as the worse economic year in our history), our area registered 1,945 cars, 643 imports and 7,616 trucks. Most dealers claim their used car business was good for 2008. According to CNBC, more and more auto buyers are looking at factory-authorized used cars that can often be purchased for thousands less than the price of a new car. As the country faces the worst economic crisis in decades, one of the hardest-hit industries is the motor vehicle industry. The figures are grim: The “Big Three” manufacturers predict that 40 percent of all dealers in the U.S. will be gone in five years. According to the Motor Vehicle Registration service of Louisiana, 2008 vs. 2007 figures reflect a near 19 percent drop in vehicles sold in the Lake Area. While that’s not good, it’s a whole lot better than the national average of 30 percent. The MVR is the source quoted with the fine print at the bottom of an advertisement when a dealer claims to be number one in sales for a particular period of time. Like the national dealers, Southwest Louisiana dealers were hit by the rise in gasoline prices during the summer months, as well at the downturn in the economy in the 4th quarter. Folks weren’t too anxious to buy a car or truck when the Big Three were on the news every night holler-

ing bankruptcy if they didn’t get their loans from Congress. Add two guys named Gustav and Ike to the aforementioned problems, and it’s a miracle any vehicles were sold in our market at all. Car sales dropped by about 600. Truck sales—the bread and butter of most dealers in our area—crashed, with 2,200 less sold than last year. The one bright spot in our area is imports. A strong Lake Charles Toyota, and good Lake Charles Nissan numbers coupled with Navarre Honda moving 600+ Hondas made for a good year. Nissan of Lake Charles sold 1,159 units and Lake Charles Toyota signed 880 deals with their truck sales accounting for 500 of those. Southwest Louisiana has always been truck country, and that helped soften the blow for dealers, since there usually is a higher margin in pickup trucks and SUVS. Still, with all the negatives in 2008 (which may

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JANUARY 22, 2009


S O U T H W E S T

L O U I S I A N A ’ S

H O M E

G R O W N

B U S I N E S S E S

The Smell of Sweet Success: Delicious Donuts & Bakery By Lisa Yates akeries that want to succeed in today’s supermarket culture must do more than assure their products are fresh. Their ideas must be fresh, too. When Paula Stevens and her brother, Lucas Verret, founded Delicious Donuts & Bakery 15 years ago, they included freshly-baked king cakes among their repertoire of mouth-watering treats. “The most popular fillings are pecan praline, and pralines-n-cream,” Stevens said. “Half of all of the king cakes we sell are these.” Along with fruit flavors – like bananas foster, blueberry, lemon, raspberry, strawberry, cherry, and pineapple – the bakery also offers Bavarian, chocolate, cream cheese and the traditional, cinnamon. There’s also Zulu and a combination of fruit and cream

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cheese fillings on the menu. Each year, Stevens and her “krewe” gets together to create a new filling just in time for Mardi Gras. “One year it was bananas foster, another year we added peaches and cream,” she said. “We even had a peanut butter and jelly filling one year. Stevens and the bunch would not divulge this year’s new flavor, but added it will be out at the end of January. “We’re still sampling prototypes – it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it,” she joked. Delicious Donuts & Bakery sent The Times staff a Bavarian-filled king cake fresh out of the oven. Everyone agreed it was the best king cake they had ever eaten. But readers don’t have to take their word for it. They can do a Continued on Page 12

Paula Stevens and Lucas Verret, co-owners of Delicious Donuts & Bakery, decorate king cakes for Mardi Gras.

JANUARY 22, 2009

PAGE 11


SWLA Home Grown Businesses, Continued from Page 11

“Google search” and see what travel writers around the world have to say about these king cakes. “When travel writers come to Louisiana, they travel throughout the state – New Orleans, Lafayette, all over – to see and do different things,” Stevens said. “When they come here, the tourist bureau takes them to the Mardi Gras museum and asks us to come give a king cake demonstration.” She explained that a king cake demonstration involves bringing “naked king cakes” - those without icing and decorations – and letting visitors add the rest. “We also tell them about the history of the king cake,” Stevens said. “We tell them it’s a tradition for the person who finds the baby to host the next party. Most of them don’t know about this and they love it.” When the writers get finished decorating, she arranges to have the cakes shipped to their homes. They sample the demo cake, eagerly anticipating who will get the piece with the baby. “It really makes an impression on them,” Stevens said. “Sometimes they’ll send a copy of an article and we’ll see that a third of it is dedicated to us.”

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JANUARY 22, 2009

She said it’s a lot of fun and something she enjoys sharing with others. “It’s very gratifying to start from scratch and end up with a product that puts a smile on someone’s face and a taste they can remember,” Stevens said. Many of her travel writers end up as loyal customers, ordering king cakes and sharing this Southwest Louisiana tradition with family and friends. In fact, anyone can order king cakes. Cakes are shipped year-round through the Delicious Donuts & Bakery Web site at www.deliciouskingcakes.com. During Mardi Gras season, king cakes are ready to go, baked fresh each day at the store on 2283 Country Club Road, in Lake Charles. Customers can also call ahead to reserve a king cake with their favorite filling. Delicious Donuts & Bakery has more than just the hottest king cakes in town. The shop specializes in donuts, kalotchies, cookies, cakes, and party trays – including miniatures – which are bite-sized appetizer versions of the full-sized pastries. “We get orders from L’auberge du Lac for the miniatures,” Stevens said. “They order them for their V.I.P. Guests.”

Stevens and Verret not only own the shop, they work alongside their small kitchen staff making pastries and waiting on customers. “I’m an arts and crafts person – I like to make things,” Stevens said. “Like art, you start from scratch and create a finished product – only ours you can eat! “It’s very gratifying to put a smile on someone’s face and create a taste they can remember.” Through a viewing window, customers can watch as dough is rolled out, hand-cut, and shaped for baking. Stevens said there’s an art to handcutting pastry, which is a key factor to making products look and taste good. “After all, if it doesn’t look good, nobody is going to eat it,” she said. “We make it fresh on site; and, we’re here every day to maintain quality control. We don’t even try to compete with supermarket products. Ours are made fresh - they don’t have that privilege.” For more information, call (337) 479-2986, or visit Delicious Donuts & Bakery, at 2283 Country Club Road, in Lake Charles. The store is open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.


By Sara Blackwell

DECIPHERING THE WORLD OF FOOD LABELS With the New Year here, many of us have made resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier. A few ways to achieve these goals include counting calories, increasing nutrients in our diets and cutting fat. But, can you trust the labels and statements on the food items you are purchasing? What does it really mean for an item to be “light” and who determines when something is “less fat?” Less fat than what? The United State’s federal statutes specifically set the rules and regulations for food labeling. Most food labels must identify the food commodity, state the name of the business or manufacturer of the food item, express the location of the business or manufacturer, specifically offer the net quantity of the contents and give the net quantity of each serving size if there is a serving size offered. Each and every ingredient must be listed, especially with the array of allergy problems now so prevalent in the country. Certain food items, however, may be exempt from this requirement. In addition to food labeling, most food items are required to display a nutrition panel that includes specific information. Most restaurant foods are exempt from this requirement unless the particular food item is offered by the restaurant as containing a certain nutrient or health aspect. Likewise, ready-to-eat foods such as deli or bakery items are also exempt from the requirement to demonstrate a nutrition panel. Additionally, plain coffee, tea and some spices are typically not required to offer nutritional information. Finally, retailers with a minimum level of annual gross sales from food items may be exempt. However, if any of these food items offer nutritional information, then they are bound by the federal rules and regulations for such labeling. Some food items are required to offer nutritional information, but to a modified degree. Small items, such as gum, are permitted to offer a smaller nutrition label because the size of the food’s package does not permit the entire nutrition panel. Further, certain items, such as water, are only required to state certain nutritional facts due to the items’ limited number of ingredients. The federal statutes state that the following items must be clearly labeled on the nutritional panel: • • • • •

total calories calories from fat total fat saturated fat cholesterol

• • • • •

sodium total carbohydrates dietary fiber sugars protein

• • • •

vitamin A vitamin C calcium iron

In addition to the mandatory labels, any food item may, but is not required to, offer the following information: • calories from saturated fat • polyunsaturated fat • monounsaturated fat • potassium • soluble fiber

• • • • •

insoluble fiber sugar alcohol other carbohydrate percent of vitamin A present as beta-

carotene and/or other essential vitamins and minerals.

Contrarily, single amino acids, maltodextrin, calories from polyunsaturated fat, and calories from carbohydrates may not appear as part of the Nutrition Facts on the label.

The specific nutrients required or permitted on the nutrition panel were selected based on today’s health concerns. The order in which they appear on the panel reflects the priority of the current dietary suggestions. It is noteworthy that the nutrition panel for food items which are targeted for children four years and under does not contain the same nutritional items. In fact, such food items that are made for young children do not stipulate the saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, cholesterol, calories from fat or calories from saturated fat. This is because the federal government does not want parents to focus on such issues for children four and under. Fat is important during the infant and toddler years for adequate growth and development. The nutrition panel offers the daily value percentages for each of the listed nutritional items. The percentage is based on a 2000-calorie diet, which is a required stipulation at the bottom of the nutritional label. The federal government devised the 2000-calorie per day diet because it is the recommended caloric intake for postmenopausal women—a group that the government believes has the highest risk for excessive intake of fat and calories. Very important to a label reader is the serving size. One cereal may have a substantially lower amount of fat or calories, but once the serving size is taken into account, there is not much difference in the fat and calories when the bowl is filled. Serving size is actually governed by the federal rules. The serving size is supposed to be the amount of food that is customarily eaten at one time by one person. There is an FDA-established listing of serving sizes based on the amounts customarily consumed during one sitting. The different serving sizes in cereals may be due to the different weight or similar factor of the cereals being compared. Finally, yet very importantly, the federal government defines health and nutrient labeling such as light, lean, or high in fiber. A food item is not permitted to state such a term unless it is within the definition provided by the federal government. For example, calorie-free means there are fewer than 5 calories per serving. Sugar-free and fat-free mean less than .5 grams of fat or sugar per serving. Low fat is defined as 3 grams of fat or less per serving. Low-sodium refers to a product with 140 milligrams or less of sodium per serving; whereas, low-calorie is 40 calories or less per serving. An item that is labeled lean is less than 10 grams of fat, equal to or less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving and per 100 grams. A bag of chips that is labeled light means one of two things. It may mean that the chosen snack is one-third fewer calories or half the fat of the referenced food. Light can also mean that the sodium content in a low-calorie, low-fat food has been reduced by 50 percent. Even more confusingly, light can reference texture or color such as light yellow chips. There are similar rules for the other terms which can be found on food labels, such as high, good source, reduced, less, more and healthy. It is a great idea to check the labels of the food you put into your mouth and the mouths of your family. The federal government does have rules and regulations in place to assist in understanding the nutritional value and fat content stated on the nutrition label. Knowing the veracity of this information is a big step in decreasing unwanted weight and increasing your health. The provided information is fact-sensitive and jurisdiction-dependent; consult an attorney before employing the above legal concepts. Sara Blackwell is an attorney, writer and mother. She has worked as an attorney for the United State’s Department of Justice, a federal district judge and the United States Attorney’s Office. Her current legal interest is in immigration law, where she works part-time for an immigration firm. She is currently working on her second novel. JANUARY 22, 2009

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BUSINESS

notes

BIZ BYTES — by Dan Juneau

A Looming Tax Increase For Small Business?

Cameron Communications public relations coordinator, Trina Johnson, presented a check for $450 to Angelia Conner and Bobby Hession of the LSU Ag Center 4-H Shooters Club. The donation was used to sponsor the Ike Revenge Shoot Out at the Lake Charles Gun Club on Sat., Jan. 10. Tourism is growing in the Lake Area, as evidenced by new hotel properties emerging. Many of these hotels are now open and welcoming guests. In Lake Charles, the newly open hotels are Comfort Inn, 607 E. Prien Lake Road, (337) 478-4650, with 71 rooms, and LaQuinta Inn and Suites, 1201 W. Prien Lake Road, (337) 478-9889, with 75 rooms. In Sulphur, the new properties are Candlewood Suites Extended Stay, 320 Arena Road, (337) 528-5777, with 77 rooms, and Baymont Inn and Suites, located at 325 Arena Road, (337) 310-7666, with 51 rooms. Carlyss welcomes the opening of A+ Motel & RV Park along the Creole Nature Trail at 4631 Highway 27 South, (337) 583-2631. This property has 35 rooms and 28 RV spaces available. These new openings total 163 new rooms to the area, bringing the total number of rooms in the parish to 4,594. Still in the construction phase in Southwest Louisiana are 13 new hotel properties which will bring 1,035 new rooms to the area. They include Comfort Inn/Suites, Holiday Inn, Marriot’s Springhill Suites, LaQuinta Inn and Suites, Country Inn and Suites and Candlewood Suites. Many are set to open in 2009. For more information, please contact the Lake Charles/Southwest Convention & Visitors Bureau at (337) 436-9588 or visit www.visitlakecharles.org.

Above: Frank Todd of Moss Bluff recently won a 32” HDTV from Cameron Communications as a part of its holiday celebration. The drawing was held at the Moss Bluff store, and manager Carmen Packwood was on hand to present him with his prize. L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort created yet another instant millionaire this week. A Baytown, Tx. man won $1.2 million playing a Wheel of Fortune® $1 slot machine. Tommy Lee Kovalcik played just $36, or twelve spins, into the machine recently to claim the $1,245,689 statewide progressive jackpot on the $1 Wheel of Fortune® Triple Diamond machine. Kovalcik is the second instant millionaire created by a $1 Wheel of Fortune® machine at L’Auberge in just four months. In August, a Lake Charles woman won $1.9 million after just four spins on the progressive machine. She chose to remain anonymous. For more information regarding rules and regulations or casino promotions, visit the mychoice club located in the southeast corner of the casino floor or call (337) 395-7777 and ask for the mychoice center. The Propeller Club Ports of SW Louisiana is seeking applications for their 2009 scholarship awards. These scholarships range from $500 to $2,000 each year and are awarded to graduating seniors of parents who work in the local maritime community. Propeller Club members are asked to pass the application to their co-workers who may have a graduating senior. Any senior from Cameron, Calcasieu, Allen, Beauregard and Jeff Davis parishes are encouraged to apply, and all applications will be considered. For a copy of the application call Kelly Clark at 562-0001 or Ship to Shore at 474-0730, or e-mail info@shiptoshoreco.com Application deadline is Jan 29, 2009. Accepted applicants will be requested to write a short essay and have personal interviews. PAGE 14

JANUARY 22, 2009

hile opening your Christmas mail, you may have noticed something that did not leave you in the holiday spirit - your 2008 property tax bill. With this being a reassessment year, you also probably noticed that your property values have increased. Assessors are required to reassess property at least every four years. During the last reassessment cycle in 2004, many taxpayers were unaware of the reassessment process and were shocked at the increases when they opened their tax bills in December. Hearing the concerns of the taxpayers, the Legislature in 2005 added a requirement that assessors provide taxpayers written notice of their reassessed valuations in sufficient time to properly contest their new valuations. The reality of higher property values and larger tax bills will certainly, once again, stir up the discussion of increasing the homestead exemption. Raising the $75,000 homestead exemption, which is already one of the highest in the country, would cause renters, businesses, and other homeowners to pick up the tab for the tax savings given to some homeowners. Since businesses pay most of the property taxes, it would to a large degree be a tax increase on small business. Increasing the homestead exemption would also shrink the property tax base for local governments, making it more difficult for them to generate local revenue. Another property tax benefit already on the books is for special level assessments. These special assessments allow certain homeowners the benefit of freezing their property values, which protects them from future property value increases. One of the special level assessments is for homeowners 65 years and older, provided they make less than $64,500. To get an idea of the prevalence of special assessments, the Tax Commission obtained the amount from a few parishes: East Baton Rouge Parish (18 percent of homesteads), Orleans Parish (20 per-

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cent), Lafayette Parish (10 percent), and Tangipahoa Parish (10 percent). Property taxes are used to fund local necessities, such as schools, fire and police protection, as well as water and sewer infrastructure and related services. Even though these services benefit all taxpayers, about 50 percent of all homeowners still pay zero property tax. The general business community, which pays over 80 percent of all property taxes, receives no exemptions or special level assessments. Businesses are re-assessed each year on all of their property (not just land and improvements), and are taxed at rates of 15 to 25 percent of fair market value, as compared with homeowners who are taxed at only 10 percent. Rather than exemptions and special level assessments, the resolution of higher property tax bills needs to be properly focused on its root cause - property tax millage rates. When assessors perform their constitutional function of valuing property at fair market value, the higher property values result in an automatic rollback of millages. Generally, the combination of higher property values and reduced millages rates have the overall effect of leveling off property tax bills, which benefits all taxpayers and not just a few select classes of homeowners. However, following the automatic rollback of millages, local taxing bodies are authorized under the state constitution and without voter approval to roll-forward its millage rate with only a two-thirds vote of the members of the taxing body. It is this subsequent rolling-forward of the millage rates, and not the reassessment of property to current fair market value, that produces the sticker shock property tax bills. Many of these taxing bodies that choose to roll-forward their millages are not even elected officials, but rather, appointed members of boards that have the power of taxation. Limiting the ability of taxing bodies to roll-forward millages, without voter approval, would give all taxpayers something to celebrate after the next reassessment cycle — lower millage rates.


INSIDE BATON ROUGE — by John Maginnis

Nine Politicos to Watch in ‘09 nlike the year past, the year ahead will be short on elections but long on government, as state leaders try to get their arms and minds around a worsened financial picture, a revamp of public healthcare, the implementation of a new ethics regime and a potentially rockier relationship between the governor and the Legislature. And there still will be election politics, if not actual voting, then key decisions to be made for some big 2010 races that will start before this year ends. Driving these policies and politics will be the major figures--the governor, U.S. senators and legislative leaders--but also emerging players vying to make their marks. Here’s the morning line on political newsmakers for 2009:

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Charlie Melancon In a House delegation very short on seniority, Congressman Melancon, the lone Democrat, stands as a relative giant. Though in only his third term, he has become a leader within the increasingly influential Blue Dog Caucus of conservative Democrats. He will be Sen. Mary Landrieu’s counterpart in working with the Obama administration and congressional leadership on legislation, especially appropriations, vital to Louisiana. By year’s end, however, he must decide if he will risk all that and answer the call of national party leaders to challenge Sen. David Vitter in 2010. Jay Dardenne The secretary of state gets a break from the demanding and shifting election calendar of the past two years, allowing him to ponder his own next electoral move. He too must decide this year if he will challenge Vitter in 2010, though doing so could cause a deep rift within the Republican Party. Angele Davis The governor faces a major budget-balancing challenge, which he already has delegated to his commissioner of administration to solve. She will have to make do with less money after three straight years of

legislators and bureaucrats having more and more to spend. Her challenge will be to reduce spending without so cutting services that her boss feels the heat. Alan Levine The success of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed health care overhaul depends heavily on how well the head of the Department Health and Hospitals sells to wary legislators the managed-care plan that he devised in his earlier job in Florida.

leadership in the mode of retiring Congressman Jim McCrery, who rose to prominence on the same panel. Karen Carter Peterson Her future seemed limited after losing the 2006 congressional election to Bill Jefferson, but the New Orleans Democrat rebounded to be chosen speaker pro tem in the state House. Then, she was the first state politician to sign on to Barack Obama’s nascent presidential campaign. If she doesn’t take a high post in the new federal administration, she is seen as a viable contender for mayor or, again, Congress.

Frank Simoneaux The governor is counting on the new chairman of the state Board of Ethics to make workable a new set of ethics laws that, critics charge, has weakened the board’s power to prosecute alleged transgressors. If he can’t, the attorney and former lawmaker must shepherd changes through a Legislature that is having second thoughts about what it wrought in the name of good government.

Mitch Landrieu The once rising star finds himself in a mid-career position that could stretch on and on. The lieutenant governor must decide by December if he will qualify to run again for mayor of New Orleans in Feb. 2010. He leads all the polls now, but so did he four years ago, before losing to Mayor Ray Nagin.

THE YEAR AHEAD WILL BE SHORT ON ELECTIONS BUT LONG ON GOVERNMENT... John Alario The freshman senator kept a low profile in his first year in the upper chamber, but the longest-serving legislator is expected to play a greater role in the coming debates over the budget and health care. He might also position himself to broker a new relationship between Senate veterans and the governor, mending last year’s frayed feelings over Jindal’s vetoes of legislators’ pay raises and local projects. Charles Boustany Though less outspoken than the two other doctors in the congressional delegation, the Lafayette representative in his third term could develop the role as a GOP counterpoint to Democratic plans to expand government-sponsored health care. He also takes a seat on the tax-writing Ways & Means Committee, with an eye toward quietly building seniority and JANUARY 22, 2009

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PERSPECTIVES — by Jim Doyle

The Fierce Urgency of Now s those of you I’m proud to call my regulars know already, I grew up in Bolivar, a town of just over 3,000 in southwestern Tennessee about 16 miles from the Mississippi border. I have been known to tell Louisiana natives, particularly here in Lake Charles, that I grew up in “the real South.” This is often expressed by us Southern chauvinists as having been raised in a place “where there is blood on the ground.” I have maps of the Shiloh battlefield in my office because it has a reference to “Duncan’s Field,” a major field of fire in that spring battle that was owned by one of my relatives. We’re not proud of the war so much as of the history—the type of angst that fueled Faulkner novels of mixed race and old grudges. At Shiloh, for example, more than half the troops from Hardin County, site of the battle, fought for the Union. Nothing was cut and dried except the tobacco. In 1961, when I was a young 10 years old and in the sixth grade, my director recruited me for the “stage band,” which was short on saxophones. This honor meant I went to school every day in the winter at 6 a.m. and played “Stardust,” “Muskrat Ramble,” and other songs my parents dug but seemed more shopworn to me than the ragged paper they were printed on. It was fun, though. I got to stand up from time to time and play solos. Perhaps because of where we were, our director added a singing feature to our repertoire that included what were popularly known as “Negro spirituals.” Strange because, of course, I was a student musician at a completely segregated school, performing for all-white audiences in a town where the “new courthouse” was built in 1868 to replace the one the Yankees burned in a conflict in living memory of our grandparents’ parents. As singers, we were divided up into parts. At 10, much to my chagrin, I was one of the sopranos. I don’t remember every song we did. I do remember “Go Down, Moses,” which contained the line, “let my people go.” I didn’t get the irony. I’m not sure anybody did. A couple of years later, that song, and others we sang, were staples of a civil rights movement fueled by one of

A

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JANUARY 22, 2009

the men we honor this month, the Rev. Martin Luther King of Montgomery. “O Freedom; O Freedom; O Freedom over me. And before I’d be a slave, I’d be buried in my grave, and go home to my Lord and be free.” The music was haunting, laden with the time and distance between us in those years when we supported with our skin color, if not our hearts, a system, which equally labeled water fountains, public bathrooms, and people. I cannot imagine growing up black in that environment, nor the anger I would have. But Dr. King led, thank God, a non-violent movement. So anger was tamped down. I never met him, of course. I was a senior in high school when he died. I was in Memphis that day, as it happened, on my “Career Day” visit to the band director of a state University. I remember being shocked, but – and I’ll

IT IS FITTING, I THINK, FOR THE HOLIDAY CELEBRATING DR. KING TO BE AN OCCASION TO REMEMBER HIS ROLE IN OUR HISTORY,... say this carefully, but I’m still going to say it – I don’t believe more than a handful of Southern white people heard the news with any real emotion, nor could even imagine the desolation their black neighbors felt. The riots of the summer of that year ushered in the beginning of the worst of the 60s and early 70s, when this country was divided race by race, generation by generation, rich vs. poor. More than today, even. By 1969, I was in college and the civil rights discussion was ongoing. That summer, I played in a garage band in Alabama, several times in Selma. We stayed in a motel at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where heads rolled to state police batons as punishment for the sin of speaking out.


The next year, two of my best friends were black kids from the Delta. One night, we tried to get something to eat at an all-night diner in downtown Hattiesburg. Nobody lynched us or anything, but they sure didn’t want us there. It is fitting, I think, for the holiday celebrating Dr. King to be an occasion to remember his role in our history, mostly because his power to convince outlived his years. Hard to believe he was only 39 when he died, 34 when he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, which included President Obama’s often-quoted point about the “fierce urgency of now,” and what I think was his greatest line: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” When I became a lawyer, I argued (in 1991) a racial discrimination case in the United States Supreme Court and quoted Dr. King’s admonition to Americans to judge one another “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” This Southern boy, who grew up where there was blood on the ground from a conflict fought to end slavery, has indeed traveled far. And so have we all. The election of Barack Obama is much more than a political event. Bill Cosby said last week that he brought pictures of his mom, his dad, and his brother, all deceased, into the booth when he voted. I have spoken to dozens of people, of both races, who cried when they cast their ballot or watched the returns pour in. Me, too. It says something profound about our country that a black man could reach out in 1963 to his fellow citizens, then embroiled in a sometimes vicious battle for equality, in complete faith that this nation would achieve an end to the wound which has been healing, in fits and starts, since 1776, that he could see a time when his country would “rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.” It says something more that, in this century, a man running for President brought us together by pointing out the obvious: E Pluribus Unum, out of many, we are one. God, I hope so. I want to watch the next months as disagreements with the President are based on honest policy differences and nothing else. I want to see a nation at the end of his term that will promise a togetherness we’ve never had, because the division of race has shackled us all in the same chains. Maybe now those shackles will open, and in the words of another of those 6 a.m. spirituals, we will be: “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.” God save the President of the United States. See you on the flip, fellow Americans. JANUARY 22, 2009

PAGE 17


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Change your View on Vision Care as you Age Remember when you could sit down to read a newspaper without reaching for your glasses? You may never have those young eyes again, but that doesn't mean you're doomed to a life of poor vision. In fact, many older people have good eyesight into their 80s and beyond. “Growing older does not always mean poor vision. But age does bring with it changes that can weaken your eyes,” explains Alan Lacoste, M.D, ophthalmologist with The Eye Clinic. “Regular, routine eye care is the best way to make sure these changes don’t result in permanent vision loss.” According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, one in three Americans will suffer from a sight-related disease by age 65. Here are brief descriptions of the most common of these diseases, with information from The Eye Clinic physicians regarding prevention and treatment: Cataracts. A cataract is a gradual clouding of your eye's lens, marked by blurred vision, impaired night vision, and halos around lights. A cataract may need no treatment at all if the vision is only a little blurry. A change in eyeglass prescription may improve vision for a while, but there are no medications, eye drops, exercises or glasses that will cause cataracts to disappear once they have formed. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. It is performed on an outpatient basis, and is one of the most common surgeries performed on Americans over age 65. Cataracts are most common in people over 60, and the risks are higher for people with diabetes and those who take corticosteroids. Excess exposure to the sun and cigarette smoke are also risk factors, so cover up when you go outside and if you smoke, quit.

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JANUARY 22, 2009

Glaucoma. This disease is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. It occurs when the optic nerve is damaged when fluids that normally flow in and out of the eye drain improperly, causing increased pressure. Early treatment can stop its progression, but unfortunately, most people don't notice any symptoms until permanent damage has occurred. That's why regular trips to your eye doctor are crucial, especially if someone in your immediate family has the disease, if you have diabetes, or are over age 60. African-Americans are also at increased risk. And, it can develop at a much earlier age, so have your eyes tested every one to two years starting around age 40. Age-Related Macular Degeneration. This disease of the retina is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65. It results when the macula, the part of the retina responsible for sharp vision, begins to deteriorate. Macular degeneration comes in two forms, dry and wet. The dry form, in which the retina has simply worn thin with age, is untreatable, but it is usually slow to progress and rarely causes severe vision loss. Some research suggests that vitamins and minerals may slow its development. The wet form of the disease occurs when abnormal blood vessels form beneath the retina.


It poses a much more serious threat to your eyesight, but laser surgery can help some patients avoid further vision loss. To get the earliest possible treatment, see an eye doctor promptly if your vision becomes fuzzy or blurry, if straight lines look wavy, or if blank or dark spots show up in the center of your vision. Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels that feed the retina, putting those with the disease at high risk for blindness. Retinal damage is particularly common in people who have had diabetes for at least 10 years, and it's nearly universal in those who have had the disorder for 30 years or more. Diabetic retinopathy causes blurred or fluctuating vision, and it can worsen rapidly. When caught in time, the disease can be treated with laser surgery. If you have diabetes, annual checkups with an eye doctor are absolutely essential. Carefully controlling both your blood sugar and your blood pressure will also go a long way toward preventing vision loss. As you age, there are other eye conditions that commonly develop, including presbyopia, floaters, dry eyes and tearing. According to Dr. Lacoste, these problems won't seriously impair your vision, but can definitely be a nuisance. Presbyopia is the medical name for the inevitable decline in a person's ability to read small print or focus on anything held close to the eyes. People begin to notice the onset of presbyopia in their early to mid-forties when the

lens of the eye begins to lose flexibility. If you get tired of holding books at arm's length, you can fix the problem with a pair of reading glasses, bifocal glasses, contact lenses and even LASIK laser vision correction for monovision (one eye corrected for distance vision and one for near vision). Floaters are spots that drift across your field of vision. Some people are born with floaters, but they can also result when the fluid in your eye deteriorates through age, injury, or disease. These are no cause for alarm, however, you should call an eye doctor if the floaters suddenly become more common, or are accompanied by flashes of light. These may be symptoms of a detached retina. Dry eye is usually caused by a problem with the quality of the tear film that lubricates the eyes. Many find relief simply from using artificial tears on a regular basis. Some of these products are watery and alleviate the symptoms temporarily; others are thicker and adhere to the eye longer. Preservative-free tears are recommended because they are the most soothing and have fewer additives that could potentially irritate. Avoid products that whiten the eyes – they don’t have adequate lubricating qualities and often make the problem worse. Closing the opening of the tear drain in the eyelid with special inserts called punctal plugs is another option. This works like closing a sink drain with a stopper, trapping the tears on the eye, keeping it moist.

Excessive tearing can occur if your eyes are highly sensitive to sunlight, wind, or temperature changes. You can prevent the problem with sunglasses or anything else that shields your eyes from the elements. In some cases, tearing can signal an eye infection or a blocked tear duct. See an eye doctor if the problem persists. “It’s also important to remember that older adults often take medications for other health conditions and that some of these may affect your vision with side effects such as blurred vision, dry eyes, and light sensitivity,” said Dr. Lacoste. “Most effects are temporary and will stop when you quit taking the medicine, but it's important to keep your eye doctor up to date on all the drugs and supplements that you're using.” And while some changes in your vision and eye health may be inevitable, Dr. Lacoste recommends these few practical steps to older adults to ensure the best vision possible for your circumstances. See an eye doctor every one to two years under normal circumstances or once a year if you have diabetes or a family history of eye diseases. Contact an eye doctor immediately if you experience a sudden loss of eyesight, pain in the eye, double vision, unusual fluids seeping from the eye, or extreme redness or swelling of the eye or eyelid. Wear sunglasses with 100 percent ultraviolet protection and a widebrimmed hat when you venture into the sun. UV rays can damage eye tissue and increase your risk of developing cataracts. Make sure your diet includes sufficient vitamins and minerals. To maintain good eyesight, you need to take in the proper amounts of B vitamins; the antioxidants A, C, and E; and minerals such as selenium and zinc.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially yellow and yellow-orange foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes, are good sources of these nutrients. Your eye doctor may recommend a daily multivitamin as an added source of nutrients. Dr. Lacoste also recommends simply adding more light to your house if your vision seems to have “faded” with age. For activities like reading and sewing, add lamps that are brighter than overall room lighting. Shades, blinds, and drapes can reduce indoor glare, and an anti-reflective coating on your eyeglass lenses can be helpful, too. Even with more severe vision loss, you may be able to continue reading and performing other tasks with the aid of special telescopic glasses, magnifying glasses, and electronic reading devices. Talk to your eye doctor about the devices that may work best for you. “When it comes to your vision, as with most things in life, prevention is far better than cure,” said Dr. Lacoste. “Just as you have regular exams to monitor and manage other aspects of your health, it’s also important to get your eyes checked regularly, and to realize that an eye exam is not just a check for a new prescription. It’s a vital check on the overall health of your eyes that can help ensure a lifetime of good vision.” The Eye Clinic is offering free vision screening and pressure checks, as well special savings and the chance to win free LASIK throughout January. Call The Eye Clinic nearest you in Lake Charles, Sulphur, DeRidder or Jennings for more information, or call 1-800-826-5223. Information on Eye Care Month offers is also available on their Web site, theeyeclinic.net.

JANUARY 22, 2009

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Sponsored by

Keeping Sight on Your

EYE

SIGHT

New Technique Makes LASIK an Option for More People If you’ve been told you are not a candidate for LASIK, then you may want to look into epi-LASIK. Board-certified surgeons at The Eye Clinic’s Laser Center are using this newer variation of the LASIK technique to give more people the opportunity for clear vision without glasses or contacts. LASIK is currently the most popular laser vision correction surgery. Ophthalmologist A. J. O’Byrne, M.D., explained that there are some people who are not candidates due to thin corneas, large pupils or dry eyes. “Epi-LASIK gives these people with these special circumstances a proven, successful option for laser-corrected vision.” Epi-LASIK is short for Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis. Dr. O’Byrne said that this newer proce-

dure combines the best features of two traditional laser vision correction techniques: LASIK and PRK. In both procedures, surgeons create a flap in the cornea or epithelium, the cornea's outer-most surface, before using a laser to reshape the cornea in order to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. The same basic process is used with epi-LASIK, but instead of using a microkeratome device for creating the flap, the epithelium is removed with a hand-held instrument called an epikeratome. The two devices are very similar, but the epikeratome removes only the thin epithelium from the underlying cornea. Dr. O’Byrne explained that while this may sound like a minor difference, it is an important one for those patients with corneas that are judged to be too

thin, flat or steep for a corneal flap. “In LASIK, the corneal flap that's created prior to the laser treatment includes the epithelium and some of the underlying tissue of the cornea, called the stroma,” he said. “With epi-LASIK, all of the stroma remains intact prior to the laser treatment, so we have more corneal thickness to work with as he is sculpting the actual changes that correct vision.” After the laser treatment, the epithelial flap is gently placed back on the eye and a special contact lens is positioned to keep the flap in place to protect the surface of the eye while the epithelial cells grow back properly, which usually takes about three days. Dr. O’Byrne said visual outcomes for epi-LASIK are equal to that of LASIK. “The healing process is a little more uncomfortable than with

LASIK, but still minor. It also takes longer for complete healing and for full visual improvement to be realized – one week versus one to two days for LASIK. “Not everyone will be a candidate for LASIK or even epi-LASIK, but we are very pleased to have a new alternative to offer patients who want laser vision correction,” said Dr. O’Byrne. “Our goal at The Eye Clinic is to provide the latest advances in vision correction procedures to our patients, and epi-LASIK is helping us help even more patients achieve clear vision.” For more information about epiLASIK, call the Laser Center at (877)-95-FOCUS.

Upgrade

your Computer Vision People are using computers in just about every aspect of their lives today. E-mail, Internet shopping, schoolwork and job-related computer usage is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, Dr. Melvin Gehrig, optometrist with The Eye Clinic, says all this focusing on computer screens is leading to a new type of vision problem: Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). More than 143 million Americans work on a computer each day, with 88 percent of them suffering from computer eyestrain, according to national estimates. In addition, nearly 54 million children work at a computer each day, either at home or in school, and children can also be affected by eyestrain. Dr Gehrig explained that while not everyone using a computer will suffer from CVS, some degree of symptoms are often apparent in those who spend more than two hours each day in front of the screen. It may include headaches, focusing difficulties, PAGE 20

JANUARY 22, 2009

burning eyes, tired eyes, general eyestrain, aching eyes, dry eyes, double vision, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and neck and shoulder pain. CVS results from more than just eye fatigue. “The condition is caused by our eyes and brain reacting differently to characters on the screen than they do to printed characters,” Dr. Gehrig said. “Healthy eyes can easily maintain focus on the printed page because our eyes have little problem focusing on most printed material, which is characterized by dense black characters with well-defined edges.” However, characters on a computer screen don’t have this contrast or welldefined edges. Characters displayed on a computer are made up of many small dots or pixels. Each pixel is brightest in the center, with the brightness decreasing toward the outer edges. This makes it very difficult for our eyes to maintain focus and remain fixed onto these images.


If you work at a computer for two hours or more each day and are experiencing symptoms of CVS, you should see a qualified eye doctor for a computer eye exam. “With the widespread use of computers at home, school and work today, I’ve made asking about vision problems and computer use a part of a routine eye exam,” said Dr. Gehrig. “If the patient is having any symptoms of CVS, there are many things we can suggest that can improve their vision when using computers.” Suggestions include taking frequent breaks; making a conscious effort to blink more often; adjusting light sources to eliminate glare; choosing lighter screen color with darker text for higher contrast; cleaning the screen frequently; keeping the screen position four-to-nine inches below eye-level, and 20-to-26 inches from your eyes. Dr. Gehrig said that in most cases, standard reading glasses or over-thecounter readers are not enough to provide clear vision of a computer screen. “But, we do have computer eyeglasses that will correct the problem for most people. Once we’ve accurately evaluated your computer vision problem and determine your correct computer working distance, we can prescribe prescription computer glasses that will allow you to be much more comfortable and productive while working at the computer. These glasses can be customized for those who wear bifocals.” Even more, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing style for good computer vision. Almost any style of frame can be used for computer eyewear. “The lenses are the key factor for computer glasses. In most cases, multifocal lenses will be the best choice, as they are designed specifically for working at a computer,” said Dr. Gehrig. “They allow you to see clearly at your correct computer screen distance, at paperwork on your desk, and can give you some distance vision. Of course, with computer glasses, your work environment determines the best lens choice, and we can work with you to customize your prescription.” For more information about CVS and computer glasses, call The Eye Clinic at 478-3810. Sponsored by

JANUARY 22, 2009

PAGE 21


Keeping Sight on Your

EYE

SIGHT

Shining Light on Cataracts The truth about cataracts is often clouded by numerous misconceptions. It may be surprising to learn that this disease can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. In fact, cataracts are one of the foremost causes of blindness and vision loss in the United States. According to Prevent Blindness America, a leading eye health and safety organization, more than 22 million Americans aged 40 and older have cataracts. By 2020, it is estimated that more than 30.1 million Americans will be suffering from cataracts. In order to protect your vision, it is imperative to remove the haziness surrounding cataracts by learning the facts, risks, symptoms and treatment of this potentially dangerous eye disease. What is a cataract? A cataract is a clouding of the lens that blocks or alters the passage of light into the eye. The lens, located behind the pupil and colored iris, is usually transparent, because it assists in focusing images onto the retina. The retina is the component of the eye that communicates visual images to the brain. If a person has a cataract, their vision may become blurry due to light being stopped from passing through to the retina. Who suffers from cataracts? It is true that the majority of people who suffer from cataracts are age 60 and over, but cataracts are not limited to a single age group. They are occasionally found in young people, even babies. Early-stage cataracts can begin occurring in one’s 40s or 50s. “Since cataracts can develop early in life, one should ask their eye doctor if they are at risk for cataracts during their routine eye exam,” said local ophthalmologist William B. Hart, M.D., of Hart Eye Center, who has performed cataract surgery in a patient as young as 28 years of age. Risk factors and symptoms Currently, there is no known single factor that can be directly pinpointed as the cause of a cataract. However, as PAGE 22

JANUARY 22, 2009

you age, you are at a greater risk of developing a cataract. Aside from age, Dr. Hart encourages everyone to be aware of the following risk factors: • Long-time exposure to UV rays • Diabetes • Long-term steroid use • Smoking To combat some of these risk factors, it is important to wear proper eye protection from the sun, eat a diet rich in antioxidants, and maintain healthy vision through regular check-ups with your eye doctor. Some studies have suggested that Vitamin C and E supplements may assist in decreasing the risks of developing cataracts.

Now that you know the risk factors, how do you know if you have a cataract? It may be surprising to learn that you will not experience pain, redness or tears. Dr. Hart explains that the following experiences may be symptoms of a cataract: • You experience blurred or double vision, view ghost images or have the sensation of a “film” being over your eye. • When you are reading or working close-up, light levels may seem too dim. Strong light may be overpowering, and leave you with a sense of feeling “dazzled.”

• You continue to change your eye prescription, but your vision does not improve. • Occasionally, you may be able to see a cataract in your eye. The cataract may be milky in appearance or may be a yellowish spot on the pupil. Treatment If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is of the utmost importance to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist. “It is best to have cataracts treated as soon as they are discovered, even if you are under 50,” said Dr. Hart. “Unfortunately, cataracts will not go away with laser treatments, change of diet or home remedies. The only way to remove this cloud from the lens is cataract surgery.” Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. Vision can become clearer as early as two days after surgery, and the individual can return to normal activities. Dr. Hart is the only eye surgeon in Lake Charles who utilizes two of the most recent scientific innovations in cataract surgery, the micro-incision and AquaLase techniques. The micro-incision technique is a procedure that removes a cataract with an incision as small as 1.8 mm, which is equivalent to the size of the ball of an ink pen. AquaLase is a water jet instrument that gently washes away the cataract. “AquaLase is another advantage to treating cataracts as soon as they are discovered, because this is a safe and rapid procedure that works best on younger eyes,” said Dr. Hart. Once the cataract is removed, the natural lens is replaced with multifocal lens implants. Hart Eye Center provides a variety of specialized replacement lens options that are custom fitted to each individual’s particular vision needs, which gives many patients a glasses-free future. Hart Eye Center offers free cataract screenings by appointment every month. For more information, visit www.harteyecenter.com or call Hart Eye Center at 439-4014.


From Mardi Gras revelry through Christmas parades, Southwest

event. In Beauregard Parish, catch the Hickory Creek Civil War battle

Louisiana offers a year of fun. Traditional Mardi Gras festivities in

reenactment, Merryville Heritage Days, Watermelon Festival, and

Vinton, Iowa and Jennings include chicken runs and gumbo suppers.

Cherokee Nation’s Pow Wow. Jeff Davis Parish hosts a Mardi Gras

The Black Heritage Festival and Iowa Rabbit Festival highlight spring

Cajun Squeeze Box Shootout and annual Stearman Fly In. And each

in Calcasieu Parish. Contraband Days, Red, White, Blue and You,

December, Sulphur welcomes the Christmas season with real snow!

Cajun Food and Music Festival and Marshland Festival liven up Lake

Visit the Lake Charles/SWLA CVB’s Web site at www.visit-

Charles. The Coushatta Pow Wow in Allen Parish is a ‘don’t miss’

lakecharles.org throughout the year for updates and details.

ALLEN PARISH FEBRUARY –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Allen Parish Mardi Gras. Traditional and contemporary parade and festivities begin the first weekend prior to Ash Wednesday and build to the grand finale on Fat Tuesday. Feb. 4 — Soileau Mardi Gras Trail Ride - Soileau. APRIL ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– April 10 — Kinder Chamber of Commerce 4th Annual Golf Tournament - Kinder. April 19 —Trottingbred Racing, Metro Soileau Downs, Soileau. MAY –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– May 2-4 — Spring Festival, Scared Heart Catholic Church, Oakdale. May 3 & 11 — Trottingbred Racing, Metro Soileau Downs, Soileau. JUNE ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– June 14 & 28 — Trottingbred Racing, Metro Soileau Downs, Soileau.

JULY –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– July 12 & 26 — Trottingbred Racing, Metro Soileau Downs, Soileau.

Experimental airplanes, plane rides for the children, music and good food will be on hand for a real family, fun-filled event. Allen Parish Airport.

AUGUST –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Aug. 4 & 23 — Trottingbred Racing, Metro Soileau Downs, Soileau. Aug. 31 — St. Joan of Arc Bazaar, Oberlin.

OCTOBER ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Oct. 3-4 — Coushatta Pow Wow. Porcupine Head Roaches, Eagle Feathers, Native American songs, Women’s Traditional and Men’s Fancy are all ingredients of the Coushatta Pow-Wow. Come and enjoy the many flavors of the Coushatta culture. Kinder. Oct. 4 & 18 — Trottingbred Racing, Metro Soileau Downs, Soileau. Oct. 11-12 — St. Philip Neri Catholic Church Fall Festival, Kinder. TBA — King’s Farm Fall Festival & Auction, Kinder.

SEPTEMBER –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Sept. 6 & 20 — Trottingbred Racing, Metro Soileau Downs, Soileau. Sept. 13 — Miss Allen Parish Pageant Sept. 17-20 — Allen Parish Fair, Music, rides, and food booths are highlighted with the stock show and rodeo. Family entertainment for parents and children alike. Oberlin. Sept. 27 — Grand Opening of Leatherwood Museum. 202 E. 7th Ave. Oakdale. Sept. 26-27 — Old Time Plow Days. Take a trip to the past! The event features Belgian plow horses, mules, food, and stagecoach rides. Bring the family and watch the past in action. Mittie. Sept. 26-27 — Allen Parish Airport Fly-In.

DECEMBER ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– TBA — Christmas In The Park, Reeves TBA — 4rd United Pentecostal Christmas Bazaar, Oakdale. Dec. 1-31 — King’s Farm UPC Festival of Lights, Kinder.

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Dec. 1 — Lights In The Country, Elizabeth Dec. 6 — Christmas In The Country Trail Ride & Parade, Elizabeth Dec. 6 — Kinder’s Christmas In The Park, Kinder Dec. 13 — Christmas on Main Street with Sounds of the Season and Fireworks Display, Oakdale Dec. 13 — Grant Christmas Tree Farm Events, Grant TBA — Hayride Under the Lights For Allen Parish updates throughout the year, go to www.allenparish.com

BEAUREGARD PARISH EVERY MONTH –––––––––––––––––– Pinehill Trade Days- Large indoor/outdoor market. A variety of old, new, collectibles and antique items. Pinehill Trade Days are held the last weekend before the first Monday of every month at the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds. FEBRUARY –––––––––––––––––––––– TBA — Battle of Hickory Creek. Civil War Re-enactment of battles and skirmishes between the Union and Confederate forces that opened the door to the 1864 Red River Campaign. Feb. 28 — First Black Heritage Festival. Time and location TBA. MARCH ––––––––––––––––––––––––– March 27-28 — Merryville Living Heritage Festival. This twoday festival is the area’s only free community-wide cultural event. The festival features theater, folk life, music, dance and fine art, which demonstrates the unique cultural heritage of Louisiana’s “No Man’s Land” area. APRIL –––––––––––––––––––––––––– April 3-4 — DeRidder Lions Club Pro Rodeo. Beauregard Parish Covered Arena Hwy 190 West April 4-5 — Louisiana Doll Festival. If you love dolls, the place to be on April 4-5 is in DeRidder, home of the Lois Loftin Doll Museum. The collection of over 3,000 dolls, donated to the Beauregard Tourist Commission in 1996, is located in the Beauregard Museum. The festival will include doll appraisers and a doll show, as well as live entertainment and activities for the kids. It will be held at the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds in DeRidder. TBA — The Four Winds Pow Wow- The Annual Pow-Wow of the

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JANUARY 22, 2009

Four Winds Tribe, Louisiana Cherokee Confederacy will take place at the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds. MAY ––––––––––––––––––––––––––– TBA — Treasure Fest. A bargain hunters dream! Sponsored by the City of DeRidder and Beauregard Tourist Commission, Treasure Fest is a onespot yard sale held under the tall pines along the one-mile walking trail in DeRidder’s West Park. Trash or treasure? You decide at Treasure Fest. JUNE ––––––––––––––––––––––––––– TBA — Juneteenth Celebration. This year will mark the 144th anniversary of the end of slavery. Each year, community organizations come together to commemorate the celebration with events throughout the month of June. June 26-28 (tentative) — Beauregard Parish Watermelon Festival, Home of the Sugartown Watermelon, Beauregard Parish will celebrate the taste of the season with the parish’s annual Watermelon Festival at the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds for watermelon games and events, as well as live music and entertainment. Taste some of the sweetest watermelons in Louisiana! SEPTEMBER –––––––––––––––––––– TBA — Beauregard Museum Hispanic Day. Downtown DeRidder. OCTOBER –––––––––––––––––––––– Beauregard Parish Fair — The 80th Beauregard Parish Fair will take place the first week in October at the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds. One of the oldest agricultural fairs in the state, it includes a carnival, exhibits, food and live bands. Oct. 17 — Ragley Heritage and Timber Festival. Presentations on pioneers of the area, history of the formation of the town and founding families. Includes arts and crafts, food booths and live music by gospel and bluegrass bands. TBA — The Four Winds PowWow. Louisiana Cherokee Confederacy at the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds. A unique opportunity to experience the culture of Louisiana’s American Indians. NOVEMBER ––––––––––––––––––––– TBA — DeRidder Gem and Mineral Show. The DeRidder Gem and Mineral Show offers some of the best-hidden treasures in Louisiana. Minerals, gemstones, jewelry, Indian artifacts and florescent minerals will be displayed and available for pur-

chase, including the elusive Louisiana opal. Nov. 28 (tentative date) — Christmas in the Park. Each year West Park is turned into a Winter Wonderland with thousands of Christmas lights, snow village, Santa’s Workshop and nativity scene. Visitors can enjoy a train ride, cup of hot chocolate, popcorn, and hotdogs, while waiting to see Santa Claus. Christmas in the Park is sponsored by the Beauregard Women’s Organizations. DECEMBER ––––––––––––––––––––– Dec. 9 — Miracle on Washington Christmas Festival. Enjoy a dazzling Christmas Celebration with a downtown Christmas Festival, parades, the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train, unique shopping and much more. For Beauregard Parish updates throughout the year, go to www.beauparish.org.

CALCASIEU PARISH JANUARY ––––––––––––––––––––––– Jan. 6-31 — Mardi Gras SWLA. From 12th Night to the last parade, highlights and schedules for Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana can be found at www.swlamardigras.com. Jan. 30-31 — Western Heritage Days. Kicks off livestock show and rodeo! The trail ride begins south of Iowa at 8 a.m. on the 30th. On the 31st at the Brick House: Cookoff, trail riders, pony rides, Coushatta dancers, country western dance demonstration, petting zoo and much more! Rodeo parade begins at Ryan and Pine Sts. at 3 p.m. FEBRUARY –––––––––––––––––––––– Feb. 1-24 — Mardi Gras SWLA. From 12th Night to the last parade, highlights and schedules for Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana can be found at www.swlamardigras.com. Feb. 3-7 — Annual Southwest District Livestock Show and Rodeo. Burton Coliseum, Lake Charles. Don’t miss “The greatest show on dirt,” — the Annual Southwest District Livestock Show and Rodeo. Feb. 14-15 — SWLA Horse Expo at CalCam Arena. Meet speakers, vendors, clinicians and organizations that will inform, entertain and educate. Dressage by La Bocage Stables, Kids Korral, Horseman’s Challenge, Cowboy Church, and more!

TBA — Kossa Indian Dancers. Kossa Plaza, 121 E. Napoleon St, Sulphur. A colorful pageant of Native American Dances. They perform in their own theatre, which resembles a pueblo, housing prints and artifacts crafted by Native Americans. MARCH ––––––––––––––––––––––––– March 6-7 — Black Heritage Festival. Lake Charles Civic Center/Downtown Lake Charles. If you’re hungry for mouthwatering food, terrific music and great family fun, then this is the place for you. Entertainers perform gospel, zydeco, blues, spoken word and more on the Kids and Main Stages. There are approximately 70 vendors displaying and selling a wide variety of goods and services. New for 2009: Car Show, 5K Walk, Parade, and Jazz on the Lake. March 14, 23-28 — 2009 SWLA District Senior Games. Sports event for seniors 50 and older. Golf, pistol and rifle shooting, beanbag baseball, bowling, track and field and archery. Various locations; call 7214020 for more information. March 20-22 — Iowa Rabbit Festival. Hop on over to Lawrence Troups Memorial Park in Iowa for rabbit shows, a cook-off, live bands, the Miss Bunny Pageant, and so much more. March 28-29, Southwest Louisiana Garden Festival. Sat. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Burton Coliseum, McNeese State University, Lake Charles. A fabulous district flower show, plant health clinics and Garden Talk, along with plants and produce for sale. APRIL ––––––––––––––––––––––––––– April 9-11 — Louisiana Railroad Days Festival. DeQuincy Railroad Museum, DeQuincy. April 17-19 — Spring Fest and Civil War Reenactment. Niblett’s Park, Vinton. April 18 — Senior Games Archery Competition. SPAR Carlyss Park. Calcasieu Council on Aging. April 24 & 25 — Westlake Family Fun and Food Festival. St. John Bosco Church. Fri. 5 - 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Games, food booths and activities. Bingo, a live auction and entertainment. April 29 - May 10 — Contraband Days. Lake Charles Civic Center. It’s Southwest Louisiana’s biggest and longest festival. It’s also an extravaganza of lights, color, sound and people of every kind- from buccaneers to bikers to funnel cake makers. Come relax and enjoy while you watch


the lighted boat parade on the lake. Other events include biker rallies, car show, helicopter rides, amusement rides, live bands, children’s shows and fireworks displays. Watch the mayor walk the plank! MAY ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– May 14-16 - Starks Mayhaw Festival, corner of Hwy. 109and 12, Starks. May 15 - June 5 — Downtown at Sundown. Downtown Lake Charles. Each show will feature a variety of music with different bands. May 22-23 — Sulphur Heritage Festival, Henning Museum, Sulphur. JUNE –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– June 1-29 — Catch-A-Concert. Lake Charles Community Band, 7-8:30 p.m. Mondays. Lake Charles Civic Center- Arcade Pavilion. Free outdoor concert in the park. Band performs a variety of music- Sousa marches, traditional and folk music, Broadway, movies, and TV show tunes. June 19-20 — Juneteenth Celebration. Lake Charles Civic Center. Commemorating the end of slavery in the US, Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the event in the country. There will be food, music and events for the whole family. JULY ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– July 4 — Red, White, Blue, and You. Lake Charles Civic Center Seawall. Celebrate everything that’s great about being an American! Apple pie,

parades, patriotism and especially fireworks! On the lake front, downtown Lake Charles. July 4 — Firecracker Futurity & Derby Night. Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel. The road to the All-American goes through Vinton, Louisiana. Delta Downs hosts the Grade II Firecracker Futurity and the Grade II Firecracker Derby. July 18-19 Cajun French Music Festival. Good food, good music and family fun are the highlights of this annual festival celebrating Cajun music. AUGUST ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Aug. 1-2 – Marshland Festival. Lake Charles Civic Center. Offering live entertainment, food, games, arts and crafts and more, this fundraiser for the community of Hackberry helps their youth to be able to participate in sporting events and youth organizations at local, state and national levels. SEPTEMBER –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Sept. 12 — La Famillia Festival. Lake Charles Civic Center. Sept. 18-20 — Cajun Bon Temps Festival, St. Theresa Catholic Church, Carlyss. Sept. 27 — Calca-Chew Food Festival. St. Margaret Family Center, Lake Charles. The music is really French, as is the food. Enjoy! OCTOBER –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Oct. 10 — Vinton Heritage Festival. Horridge and Center Sts., Vinton.

Oct. 15 — Women’s Fall Conference. Lake Charles Civic Center. Oct. 31 — Trunk or Treat. First Baptist Church, Lake Charles. A fun, safe environment for all ages with candy, games, pictures, hotdogs, Jolly Jump and more. NOVEMBER –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Nov. TBA — Mistletoe and Moss Holiday Market. Presented each year by the Junior League of Lake Charles. Civic Center. Nov. 19-20 — Moss Bluff Harvest Festival. DECEMBER –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Dec. 4-5 — Sulphur’s Holiday House. Henning Cultural Center, Sulphur. Glittering jewelry, mouthwatering treats, ornaments, home decorations, trendy fashions and more will be on hand to usher in the month of December. Dec. 1-31 — Southwest Louisiana Christmas Lighting Festival. Enjoy Christmas parades, lights, and all the festivities that make December such a great time of year.

JEFF DAVIS PARISH JANUARY –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Jan. 10 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 31 — Freddie Pate’s Jamboree, Strand

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Theatre, 7 p.m. For advanced seat reservations call (337) 779-2343. www.freddiepate.com. FEBRUARY –––––––––––––––––––––– Feb. 7 — Relay For Life Mardi Gras Ball - Lake Arthur Community Center - 7 p.m. For more information call (337) 774-3675. Feb. 13 — Grand Marais Mardi Gras Ball - Call (337) 616-8843 for more info. Feb. 14 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park .7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 14 — Lake Arthur Mardi Gras Parade. Call (337) 774-3675 for more info. Feb. 21 — Cajun Squeeze Box Shootout. Strand Theatre. Fourth Annual World Cajun accordion championship during Jennings Mardi Gras. General Admission $5. For more info, call Polly Henry at (337) 821-5532. Feb. 21 — Jennings Mardi Gras Festival & Parade. The 17th Annual parade begins at 4:30 p.m. on north Main Street. Immediately following is live entertainment by T. Broussard & the Zydeco Steppers in Founders Park. For more information, call (337) 821-5532.

MARCH ––––––––––––––––––––––––– March 14 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. APRIL April 4 — Jennings Lion’s Club Poker Run. Call Kathy Broussard at (337) 616-8120 for more info. April 5 — The Thelma Richard Drama Showcase. Strand Theatre. April 11 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. MAY––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– May 9 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 23 — U.S. Open Clay Shoot Championship. Cajun Elite Shooting Club. JUNE ––––––––––––––––––––––––––– June 7-8 — CHIPS Youth Theatre annual production. June 14 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park at 7 a.m.

JULY ––––––––––––––––––––––––––– July 3 — Stars & Stripes Celebration & Fireworks. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. Gates open at 4 p.m. Water fun for the kids, food, fireworks and live entertainment for all. July 11 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park at 7 a.m. AUGUST –––––––––––––––––––––––– Aug. 8 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park at 7 a.m.

SEPTEMBER –––––––––––––––––––– Sept. 6 — Roastin’ w/Rosie Bar-b-que Festival Queen’s Pageant. Strand Theatre. Call (337) 824-5636 for details. Sept. 11-12 — Second annual Roastin’ with Rosie Bar-b-que Festival. Grand Marais Courtyard, N. Lake Arthur Ave. (formerly Stine Lumber). Live entertainment, good food & great fun for all ages. For more information, call (337) 8215534 or www.jeffdavis.org. Sept. 12 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. OCTOBER –––––––––––––––––––––– Oct. 1-3 — Jeff Davis Parish Fair. Fairgrounds, Hwy. 26 South. Oct. 2-3 — End of Season Stearman Fly-In. Jennings Airport grounds. Oct. 10 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 24 — Jennings Alive. Historic downtown Main Street. An open air market for tons of fun, shopping and great food for the entire family. Oct. 29 — Main Street Trick or Treat. Downtown Main Street is closed off for local children up to 12 years old to safely trick or treat. Area businesses and local residents are invited to come to Main Street to hand out goodies to the little ghosts & goblins. Each year a costume contest takes place in Founders Park. NOVEMBER –––––––––––––––––––– Nov. 14 – Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Nov. 20-21 — Girls’ Shopping Weekend. Early Christmas shopping comes to Jeff Davis Parish. This Girls Only Weekend includes lodging, pampering and more fun than you can imagine. Rise early and board the Party Bus Express & let the fun & shopping begin. Get your girlfriends, sisters & moms together & sign up early. Limited accommodations. For more info, call (337) 821-5521. Nov. 20-21 — The Jeff Davis Business Alliance’s annual shop early for Christmas promotion. Features Alliance members offering special sales promotions and refreshments for shoppers. Entertainment in Founders Park, includes Santa Paws and an assortment of local crafters. For more info, call (337)824-0933. Nov. 20 - Dec 31 — W.H. Tupper Museum Christmas Exhibit. 311 N. Main Street. Step back in time. See trees decorated with 1940s Christmas ornaments from the Tupper family store. Also, see toys that were given as gifts to the children of that era. The Old Magnolia Room is converted to a Winter Wonderland with snow villages, dolls, bears, trains, trees and more. DECEMBER ––––––––––––––––––––– Dec. 5 — Christmas Parade & Festival. 5: 30 p.m. Main Street & Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. See Santa & Mrs. Clause arrive in Jennings on a City fire truck. Immediately following the parade, join the merriment at the Louisiana Oil & Gas Park for a huge bonfire, Christmas caroling, food and a gigantic fireworks display. Dec. 5 — 11th Annual Christmas Festival Gumbo CookOff. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. 4:30 p.m. Judging for cash prizes & trophies. Sample some of the best chicken & sausage gumbo made in the area. Then join the Christmas Festival. No admission fee. Dec. 12 — Second Saturday Flea Market. Louisiana Oil & Gas Park. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 12 — Sounds of Christmas. Strand Theatre. 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. The annual community Christmas musical features live performances of traditional Christmas selections by local talent and special guests.


t i m e s

picks the best in lake area entertainment

THE RADIATORS AT CENTRAL SCHOOL JAN. 28 — The Radiators will take the stage at the Central School Theatre at 7 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 28. As New Orleans’ longestrunning rock band, these artists not only grew up with, but also performed with many sincedeparted legends of New Orleans R&B, blues and funk. Louisiana Crossroads is an intimate music performance series that debuts each month with a live radio and Internet broadcast featuring a live audience. The program airs from 7-9 p.m. via 100,000-watt regional National Public Radio affiliate KRVS, simultaneously The Radia tors streaming audio worldwide via krvs.org. For more about this program, visit www.LouisianaCrossroads.org. Tickets for the Jan. 28 date are on sale until 4 p.m. the day of the concert at the Arts and Humanities Council on the second floor of Central School, or online at www.louisianacrossroads.eventbrite.com. Advance tickets are $10, and will be $12 at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. For more information, please call (337) 491-9147. 2009 GUMBO CUP JAN. 23-25 — More than 600 gymnasts from four different states will converge on the Sulphur area for the 5th anniversary of the Gumbo Cup. Athletes from all over the Southern United States will be on hand showcasing their talents Fri.-Sun., Jan. 23-25 at Sulphur Parks, Recreation and Aquatic Center. The meet will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 23 with the youngest athletes, ages 5 and older. All of the sessions on Sat., Jan. 24, will feature female Junior Olympic athletes, with higher levels showcased at the 5:30 p.m. session. Sun., Jan. 25 will showcase male gymnasts in three sessions, at 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. In the 2 p.m. session, there will be three Elite Olympic-level gymnasts. For more

information on this event, contact Chuck McLallen at Gymnastics Etc., at (337) 625-3547 or online at www.gym-etc.com THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS PRESENTS TONY MANCUSO JAN. 30 — He outmaneuvered his opponents the first time he ran for office, has run unopposed since then, and now he wants to share his “running for public office success” with you. The League of WoMen Voters presents the Honorable Sheriff Tony Mancuso and “It Starts With The Campaign.” at noon on Fri., Jan. 30, 2009 at Reeves Uptown Catering, located at 1639 Ryan Street. Registration and networking will take place just prior to the meeting. Membership applications are available at the registration desk or at www.lwvlc.org The public is invited and encouraged to attend. The cost is $15 for members, $18 for non-members. To insure seating, please make your reservation by emailing Alfred Doucette, Jr. at douce6539@gmail.com or calling 474- 1864. SW DISTRICT LIVESTOCK SHOW/RODEO & WESTERN HERITAGE DAYS JAN. 30 – FEB. 7 — “The Greatest Show on Dirt” is coming soon! The Brick House will host Western Heritage Days with a cook-off, petting zoo, Indian dances, a celebrity shoot-out and live music on Jan. 31. Rodeos and livestock shows will be held Thurs.-Sat., Feb. 5-7 at Burton Coliseum. In conjunction with Western Heritage Days, there will be a trail ride that ends at the Coliseum as the rodeo festivities begin. Call (337) 802-4879 for more information. CHILDREN’S THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS SCHOOL PERFORMANCE OF ALICE IN WONDERLAND FEB. 5 — This Lewis Carroll’s story meets the magic of theatre in this adaptation of the treasured classic. Carroll’s unflappable young heroine takes a tumble down an enchanted rabbit hole to a crazy world of mock turtles, Tweedles, punctual rabbits, mad tea parties, where nothing is as it seems. Whimsy and wordplay are the order of the day in this imaginative production appropriate for students grades K-8.. Directed by Kerry A. Onxley, this family musical will play for area schools on Thurs., Feb. 5. The school performances are held at the Central School of the Arts & Humanities Center (809 Kirby Street) located in downtown Lake Charles. Tickets are $7 per person. Schools interested in booking should contact the theatre at (337) 433-7323. For more information, visit www.childrenstheatre.cc VALENTINE MARDI GRAS BALL IN JENNINGS, FEB. 13 — The Grand Marais Courtyard & Pavilion, Jennings, will be hosting a Valentine Mardi Gras Ball on Fri., Feb. 13, from 7 p.m. to midnight. This semiformal event will include dinner, a live band, cash prizes and a cash bar. Music will be provided by the Bayou Katz. The Grand Marais will also pick a Mardi Gras king and queen for the night; if you are chosen, your ticket cost will be refunded. Jennings Weddings and More is offering a discount on tuxedo rentals and table decorations. Tickets are $50 per person; deadline is Feb. 6. Call (337) 6160560 for more info.

Lake Area Musician/Artist/Businessman Needs Help Tony DuPuis has a long history of stepping up to challenges — challenges facing his family, friends and neighbors. Now he is facing his own challenge—and needs help from the community. For over 17 months, Tony has struggled with the damage he sustained in an accident. He needs spinal surgery to relieve the unrelenting pain that is hampering his ability to pursue his music, his art and to manage his downtown Lake Charles business. Friends of Tony are spearheading an effort to help him get the medical treatment he so desperately needs. On Sat., Jan. 31, a fundraising concert and silent auction will be held at the Central School. The

Arts and Humanities Council is serving as a clearinghouse for concert ticket sales, setting up a silent auction and providing concessions for the fundraising event. They will be able to process ticket sales and silent auction purchases via credit card, cash or check. Items or services are needed for the silent auction, and stage acts are needed for the benefit concert. Sponsorship levels are $500, $1,000 and $2,500, and tickets are $10. Donations are also appreciated. For more info, e-mail Irene Vandever at director@artsandhumanitiesswla.org, or call (337) 439-2787.

JANUARY 22, 2009

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Book Beat By Terri Shlichenmeyer

A Wealth of Motivation The sign said, “Open House Today” and you couldn’t resist. So what possessed you to go through a house for sale that you could never afford? Curiosity, sure. But maybe it was a little bit of whatiffing that led you to peek into cavernous closets and run your fingers over marble baths, rare wood mantles, and imported countertops. According to Ryan D’Agostino, whenever he and his wife went out of town, they made it a point to take walks around luxurious neighborhoods. They loved looking at the immaculate grounds and imagining the lives of those who lived there. What if? What would it be like to live there? To have money like that? D’Agostino wondered the same thing, and in his new book, Rich Like Them, he knocked on a few doors – literally - and asked. After years of curiosity, D’Agostino, an editor at Esquire magazine, purchased a list of the 100 wealthiest ZIP codes in the U.S., based on median household income, net worth, and home value. Then, with his trusty reporter’s notebook in his pocket, and comfortable shoes on his feet, he stepped into some of the richest enclaves in America. Not everyone agreed to speak to him. D’Agostino says he was sometimes met with silence, and security guards often turned him aside. But when he found people who would talk, he learned lessons of a lifetime, such as: • Always – always – keep your eyes on your goal, even when on vacation. • Never miss a chance for opportunity. • Remember that you have to see the dots to connect them. • Follow through with your connections. • Understand that there are risks in everything, so study the risk before leaping, and know that sometimes, doing nothing is a risk in itself. PAGE 28

JANUARY 22, 2009

• Stick to your plans but know when something isn’t working. • Never let failure be an option. • Remember that you can’t do business with yourself. • Work hard, and if you look forward to going to work, that’s even better. • Be humble. What a refreshing business book! D’Agostino took a simple concept (find people with money and ask them how they got it) and created something that seems like a blueprint for wealth, not only of the monetary kind, but for the soul as well. I was struck by several things: First, that in this wacky world, D’Agostino was able to find so many people who invited him, a stranger, into their fabulous homes. Second, he often steps aside to let stories speak for themselves. The titles of the mini-chapters practically beg you to read further, and D’Agostino is quick to refresh your memory if he refers to someone from another chapter. I also loved the sense of contentment conveyed by these wealthy people. While almost every one of the subjects in this book admitted to working hard, they all seemed so Zen-like with their lives now. Just reading these stories inspired me. If you’re ready for a new start in the New Year, pick up this book and get energized. Rich Like Them is filled with a wealth of great motivation for you. Rich Like Them By Ryan D’Agostino Copyright 2008 Little, Brown $25.99 / $28.99 Canada 256 pages Terri Shlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old, and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.


Lake Charles is one of the stops on a national tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. The tour will visit nine states in 12 weeks. The nationally and internationally renowned troupe left New York City Jan. 16 for a 12-week tour of “Dancing for America,” and will arrive in Lake Charles on Feb. 7 for a one-night-only performance at 7:30 in Rosa Hart Theater at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Financial support for this event was received from Citgo and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. The city of Lake Charles is providing the facilities while the Isle of Capri is providing hotel rooms. The Southern Arts Federation provided a grant, (which receives partial funding from the National Endowment from the Arts), for the Lake Charles performance. The event, which will also include a master class and a school show, is being assisted by the McNeese Banners Cultural Series and is part of McNeese’s Black History Month activities. “This performance is geared to families and fits into our commitment to education,” said Darie Jordon, government and public affairs manager for Citgo. “So, we were glad to help make it possible for these dancers to come to Lake Charles. The performance is a new, family-friendly, interactive production. It has been designed to reveal and demystify the world of the dance artist and the audi-

ence is invited to be actively involved in the event. Audience members will have a chance to ask questions, and, at one point, will be invited to join the dancers on stage. Dancers will perform a mixed program of excerpts, one-act ballets, dance suites and pas de deux, with a narrator to serve as a guide. The program includes classic DTH repertoire, such as “The Joplin Dances,” “New Bach,” Lowell Smith’s “Fragments” and the popular “Mother Popcorn.” Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook in response to the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King. Jr., and had performed to critical acclaim in New York and around the world. In 2001, the Dance Theatre of Harlem performed at the Lake Charles Civic Center for a gala performance that was co-presented by McNeese State University and the Black Heritage Festival. But in 2004, in a move that stunned the arts community, Dance Theatre of Harlem closed its doors. “Everything came to a screeching halt,” says then-director of the DTH school, Laveen Naidu. Internal financial problems, coupled with deep cuts in charitable donations following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, caused the company to acquire a $2.4 million deficit. The dance came to an end. Support, however, was immediate. Hundreds of small donations poured in, which told company personnel that people valued the Dance Theatre of

Harlem and wanted it to come back. Within five months, $1.6 million been raised. Naidu, a former DTH dancer, took over as executive director and the board grew from three to 11 members. The company vowed to return, but with new paradigms. The company is a leaner version of the original. It consists of 15 dancers, down from 40. But Mitchell’s original mission remains the same – “Using the arts to ignite the mind.” And education about dance has become part of the performance. In addition, the troupe will give a master class at 10 a.m. on Feb. 7 at Lady Leah LaFargue School of the Dance. To enroll, contact LaDonna McKnight at ladonna@mcneese.edu. Also, a free performance for K-12 students will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 9 in Rosa Hart Theatre. Schools are invited to sign up for the performance by calling Banners office at (337) 4755123 or logging on to www.banners.org and clicking on Dance Theatre of Harlem. Tickets are available in advance by calling the Lake Charles Civic Center Box Office at (337) 4911432, via PayPal through the Banners Web site at www.banners.org (click on Dance Theatre of Harlem) or at the door the night of the event. Tickets are $10 for adults and free to all children ages 18 and under because of local corporate sponsorships. For more information, contact the Banners office at or by e-mail at banners@mcneese.edu.

JANUARY 22, 2009

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behavior are in peak form, but instead of being repulsed Alexis is fascinated and wants more. A self-described “noholds barred romantic comedy,” the film clichés it way to setting this bad boy on the right path.

Brideshead Revisited (2008)  (Grade B)

Swing Vote (2008)  (Grade B)

Directed by Julian Jarrold Starring Matthew Goode, Ben Wishaw, Hayley Atwell, Emma Thompson, Greta Scacchi Miramax — Rated PG-13 — Drama — 133 minutes

Directed by Joshua Michael Stern Starring Kevin Costner, Madeline Carroll, Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammar, Dennis Hopper, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Lane, Mare Winningham Touchstone — Rated PG-13 — Comedy — 120 minutes

During an included DVD special feature, one of Brideshead’s producers frets, “I’m afraid we won’t do justice to the last great English novel.” Though falling short of greatness, this adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 drama grabs your attention with fabulous settings and attractive characters. Led by devoutly Roman Catholic Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson), the family retires to their private chapel after dinner to sing Latin hymns. It’s 1925 and the Marchmains, a wealthy clan of historical importance, reside at opulent Brideshead mansion. The “Mommie Dearest” of Britain’s aristocracy, Lady Marchmain corrals her sinning offspring with reverent lectures and the opening and closing of her purse strings. Charles Ryder arrives at Brideshead on the arm of Marchmain’s homosexual son Sebastian (Ben Wishaw). Ryder, an aspiring painter enthralled by the classical mansion and its works of art, allows Sebastian to hope for their love affair while secretly maneuvering for a rendezvous with Sebastian’s beautiful sister (Hayley Atwell). Following his honeymoon period as the new family pet, Ryder finds himself at the center of a whirlwind. A gorgeous period piece, Brideshead Revisited provides much and many that are lovely, but none to love.

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JANUARY 22, 2009

Bud Johnson (Costner) is granted an extra 10 days to cast his vote for president because of a mechanical glitch. His vote takes on new meaning when Bud, a beer-chugging layabout, learns that a national tie means he will decide the election. Having never cared for politics or much of anything other than his young daughter, Bud is overwhelmed by media attention and both candidates (Grammar and Hopper), who arrive in his New Mexico hometown pandering for his vote. Prodded by his daughter (Carroll), Bud grapples with letters containing the desperate stories of those hoping to influence his decision. Though complex issues are oversimplified, the film nearly overcomes its clumsy premise to stress a citizen’s civic responsibility within a democracy. It gets my vote. My Best Friend’s Girl (2008)  (Grade C) Starring Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, Jason Biggs, Alec Baldwin Lions Gate — Originally Rated R — Comedy — 112 min Hudson plays Alexis, the girl who might change the ways of coldhearted hunk, Tank (Cook). Socially uncouth, Tank charges big bucks to steer a girl back to the guy she dumped by taking her on a date from hell. In trying to help his best friend (Biggs), win Alexis, Tank’s disgusting come-ons and gross

The Family That Preys (2008)  1/2 (Grade B-) Starring Alfre Woodard, Kathy Bates, Tyler Perry, Cole Hauser Lions Gate — Rated PG-13 — Drama — 111 min Bates and Woodard, cast as best friends, justify this Tyler Perry film. Wealthy socialite, Charlotte Cartwright (Bates), and her longtime, working class friend, Alice Pratt (Woodard), embark on a cross-country road trip meant to be a time-out from their misbehaving adult children. While rediscovering the power of letting go, Charlotte and Alice hit upon a plan that could reinvigorate their troubled families. Appaloosa (2008)  1/2 (Grade A-) Starring Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger, Ed Harris Warner — Rated R — Western — 115 min After a lawless rancher (Irons) kills Appaloosa’s sheriff and deputies, a pair of lawmen-for-hire agree to restore order to the small western town. First, the mayor (Spall) must sign a contract giving Virgil (Ed Harris) sole discretion to enforce the law as he sees fit, with Virgil’s longtime partner and deputy, Everett (Viggo Mortensen) by his side. Everett watches Virgil’s back and keeps him on the straight and narrow while Virgil angles for the heart of a pretty widow’s (Renee Zellweger). They make a handsome threesome, but trouble soon comes a-calling in this character-driven powerhouse. Righteous Kill (2008)  1/2 (Grade C-) Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Carla Gugino, Donnie Wahlberg Anchor Bay — Rated R — Thriller — 103 min The teaming of De Niro and Pacino in this dramatic thriller holds promise,

but the structure of this inert police procedural gives them little to work with. New York City detectives and partners, Turk and Rooster are assigned to solve a string of killings. Since each victim is a murderer, evidence pointing to a cop as their killer is both logical and shocking. Turk and Rooster’s beset captain (Dennehy) demands results, but suspicions cast upon the detectives test the limits of their friendship even as these famous leading men test the boundaries of self-parody. Mirrors (2008)  1/2 (Grade C-) Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Amy Smart, Jason Flemyng, Paula Patton, Fox — Rated R — Horror — 112 min When ex-cop Ben Carson (Sutherland), is hired as watchman for a fire-ravaged department store, he is unaware that a demonic spirit haunts the establishment’s mirrors. The demon follows Ben home, getting into the minds of those he loves and causing their reflections to do terrible things. Funny rather than frightening, Sutherland better reflect on this role and stick with TV’s superior 24. Brick Lane (2007)  1/2 (Grade B-) Starring Tannishtha Chatterjee, Satish Kaushik, Christopher Simpson Sony — Rated PG-13 — Drama — 102 min A handsome picture, Brick Lane opens with Nazneen’s happy life in the Bangladesh countryside before she is transported to London for an arranged marriage. Fast-forward 16 years and Nazneen (Chatterjee) is trapped in virtual servitude to her oafish husband and the father of her two daughters, Chanu (Kaushik). When he loses his job, Nazneen takes in sewing that is collected by a young entrepreneur who is taken with her. Nazneen’s adventures take some predictable turns before her life changes in surprising ways. Though slow moving, these characters make the journey worthwhile.


"The Worst of 2008" — hey, at least I avoided talking about the economy.

by Matt Jones • ©2008 Jonesin' Crosswords Brought to you by Melanie Perry, Agent State Farm Insurance

Last Issue’s Answers

9 Computer core: abbr. 10 "___ Certified" (sticker for an 8-down) 12 CNN offshoot 40 "This American Life" host Glass Across 13 Blameless exclamation 41 Gothic novelist Radcliffe 1 Cabinet division overseen 14 Philip Seymour Hoffman by the U.S. Atty. Gen. 44 Junior high health class topic film of 2008 4 N, E or W, but not T: abbr. 48 Band with the "Worst Music 19 Financial services company Marketing" of 2008, according 7 Hit that states "There's no need with an asterisk in its name to BusinessWeek to feel down" 20 Hit head-on 51 Pottery stuff 11 Tuna variety 23 "___ you an apology..." 52 2008 spoof flick that got a 12 Be flirty with 24 Badonkadonk rare 0% rating from the website 14 Vast extents 26 Med. scan Rotten Tomatoes 15 "Singin' in the Rain" 30 Suggestion on a food label: abbr. 54 Contemptible driver, maybe production company 31 Old, in Italy 56 Dog-___ 16 Without a ___ stand on 32 Alexander who claimed he was 57 Sickly 17 How some people can cry "in charge" after Reagan was shot 18 With "The," Entertainment Weekly's 58 "___ pay for this!" 33 Off-white shade 59 Shirts' opposites pick for worst TV show of 2008 34 Stopping by just briefly 60 Outdoor goods retailer 21 "What ___ now?" 35 "Wayne's World" director Penelope 61 Doctors who may work with 22 One of the worst big-name TV 36 Gives to the landlord cold symptoms, for short casting choices of 2008 37 Rowing machine unit (for "Kath & Kim"), according to 62 Guinness Book suffix 41 Photographer Adams the website Television Without Pity 63 Throw in 42 Big D.C. lobby 25 Lunchbox flask 43 Mr. Potato Head parts 27 Victim helper: abbr. Down 45 Oak Ridge Boys hit with a 28 ___ Valley 1 Medium oath... notable vocal bass line (San Francisco neighborhood) 2 ...and milder oath 46 Did 29 Passion 3 "Good Times" actor Walker 47 It can be covered by a shadow 31 Bose competitor 4 Lo-cal drink 49 Window box sites 32 "The Hills" pair named "Worst 5 "There's more in this letter..." 50 One way to kill a vampire Couple of 2008" by iVillage.com 6 "That's extremely funny!" in e-mails 53 "ER" roles 38 Benzoyl peroxide target 7 Streisand-as-a-male film 54 Assent on the main deck 39 Separated 8 Hood rat? 55 Dearie

JANUARY 22, 2009

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Photos by The Shadow and Edward Leger

On her first visit, the Shadow fell in love with Louisiana: Its food, music and people (maybe in that order). The Shadow returned home and started making Cajun food, acquiring Cajun and Zydeco music and having Mardi Gras parties for friends and family in North Carolina. Sharing my love for and knowledge of anything Louisiana was a blast for all concerned. Thus, I became knowledgeable about Mardi Gras traditions: The official colors (purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power); the meaning of Mardi Gras – “Fat Tuesday” and the prominence of the king cake in the festivities. My introduction to the Twelfth Night celebration and the various Mardi Gras balls, on one of many “visits” in the Sulphur/Lake Charles area, was a memorable experience. And now, the Shadow arrives at the Lake Charles Civic Center for the 2009 Twelfth Night festivities as a bona fide part of the celebration. Entering through the staging area, the Shadow had the honor to meet and greet some of Southwest Louisiana’s most beautiful Queens, handsome Kings and lovely Princesses, along with others who enjoy and are committed to the festivities and revelry of Mardi Gras. Each krewe had its place in the Exhibition Hall of the Lake Charles Civic Center and equipped their station with all the accoutrements befitting the royalty of a carnival of revelPAGE 32

JANUARY 22, 2009

ry. Oh yes, that included food and drink. Littering the tables were sequins, feathers, glitter, hairspray, satin and pearls, headpieces, crowns and everything else necessary to robe the chosen ones for the Twelfth Night promenade. Le Krewe du le Originales et Les Enfants had no such glittery items at their table. Rather, their attire consisted of pants and shirts adorned with the traditional large fringes of multicolored fabric. According to Bennett Scott, their krewe wants to keep the traditions alive and a part of their present and their future. So next month, they will saddle up their horses and begin their run through the countryside, returning after the parade to enjoy live music and good eats. Coming in the back door of an event is not always the best thing to do as the Shadow and friend Jessie learned. Front door guests at the celebration were given tickets to win fabulous door prizes and pieces of king cake and those finding “babies” in their cake won great prizes. Will have to think about my entrance strategy next year. As the lights went down, the Washington-Marion Army ROTC presented the colors under the spotlight. And the Parade of Krewes began, bringing forth the regality of another Southwest Louisiana Twelfth Night celebration. The season kicked off with the Twelfth Night Revelers and the Duke and Duchess of Misrule,


Krewe de Leau members, Melissa Nolen, King & Queen, Gwen & Barry Bordelon, James Alexander and Thomas Fruge having fun at Twelfth Night.

Krewe of Mystique Twelfth Night ladies, Carrie Dondis, Mary Savoy, Pat Dow, Captain and Della Rose.

Krewe du Grande Bois Queen Sara Vidrine and Trudy Mayeux ready for the celebration at Twelfth Night.

Members of the Krewe du Grand Bois at the Twelfth Night celebration are Sean Vidrine, Anne Melacon and Warren Vidrine.

Mayor Randy Roach and wife Nancy, leading the promenade. The current captains of all the krewes came out in flowing capes and offered a toast to the 30th anniversary of the Krewe of Krewes. Then, Mayor Roach tipped his top hat to the crowd and proclaimed, “Let the Carnival begin!” Master of Ceremonies, Dale Mann, opened the evening by inviting the 2008 Mardi Gras Queens to enter. From Tiny Miss to Miss Mardi Gras, they all waved goodbye to 2008 and in turn, passed their crowns to the 2009 royalty. Then the krewe royalty and captains promenaded, and what a show it was! Krewe de la Famille’s King Bob and Queen Lydia McLamore were splendid in white and silver, accompanied by Co-captains Scot and Bea Hebert, in their purple Renaissance finery. Krewe de la Boucaniers, the pirate krewe of Lake Charles, has Jean Lafitte as its captain, and Bob Peloquin, last year’s Lafitte, escorted Pirate King Sherman Corbello and his Pirate Queen, Brenda. Krewe de Chetu Jadi were dazzling in their big feathers and elaborate costumes, while King Phil de Albuquerque, dressed as a Jester befitting Krewe Déjà vu du Monde’s Circus Circus theme, kicked up his heels to the delight of the crowd and his consort, Queen Lauren, who preferred to keep both feet her on the ground! Of course, it all ended with the Krewe of Illusions extravaganza. Sun

King Cornell Thomas and Moon Queen Kitty Clark, surrounded by their court and Ball Captain Carla Chrisco, danced out in their over-thetop regalia to thundering applause. Their costumes just get bigger and better every year! As best I can, tell if someone in Southwest Louisiana is or has been a part of a Krewe, the fun never ends as the preparations and festivities are never ending cycles. For those of us who just show up to see the results of all their work, well, WE think it is all worth the effort!

Long time Mardi Gras/Twelfth Night members Carroll Portie and Amy Grimes wait for the fun to begin at the Twelfth Night event.

JANUARY 22, 2009

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The Bus Stops Here

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he Shadow and a few friends met at ACTS Theatre on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy the presentation of Bus Stop. We were cheerfully greeted by ACTS regulars Diane McCarthy, Teresa Labbit, Rebecca Pack and Marc Pettaway, Executive Director of ACTS. Patricia Prudhomme, Lollion Elmer, Jesse Kelly, Helen Curol and I found our seats and settled in to be entertained by a cast that included both newbies and veterans of the stage. Romance and comedy are two ingredients for a fun afternoon, especially when you have the story line of Bus Stop, a play set in a street corner restaurant 30 miles west of Kansas City in the 1950s. The diner is the center of all the action and is where characters are deposited when the bus pulls in for an extended stay. Tracy LeMieux, a friend of ours, made her debut as Grace Hoyland in the show. It seems Cherie is being forced to go to Montana with Bo Decker and become his wife. It’s quite an amusing story that includes innuendoes created by the flirtatious Grace Hoyland’s attentions toward Carl and the attention Dr. Gerald Lyman lavishes on sweet, innocent Elma Duckworth. Well, you can bet your bottom dollar Sheriff Will Masters will keep the peace, especially after whupping up on Bo Decker. As usual, love wins out and everyone lives happily ever after. Cast members Colleen Lockin, Katrina Rizzuto, Tracy LeMieux, Jeff Taylor, Keith Appling, Dave Grimm, Adam Reed and Nick Woodley carried the show

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PHOTOS SHOWN: 1–Tyler Spence, Mark Broussard and Sheila Peterson came out to see Bus Stop presented by Artists Civic Theatre & Studio (ACTS). 2–Theatre enthusiasts to see Bus Stop are Lindsey Johnson and Jessica Wilde. 3–New to ACTS are Brenda Judice and Sandi Henning with Janice Guillot at Bus Stop. 4–Lollion Elmer and Helen Curol at ACTS Theatre to see Bus Stop.

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JANUARY 22, 2009

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5–Sheriff Will Masters (Jeff Taylor) intercedes on behalf of Cherie (Katina Rizzuto) who is being abducted by Bo Decker (Adam Reed) in Bus Stop. 6–Dr. Gerald Lyman (Keith Appling) talks with Elma Duckworth (Colleen Lockin) in Bus Stop. 7–Members of the Krewe of Hearts Court: Tomisha & Curtis Foster. 8–Festival-goers Nettie Fontenot, Charlotte & Bill Maxcy and Joyce Reder at the Krewe of Hearts Mardi Gras Ball.

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PHOTOS SHOWN: 9–Mallany Ryan and Lou Anna Papion, Krewe Co-Chair at Sacred Heart Krewe of Hearts 59th Annual Mardi Gras Ball. 10–Arrivals to the Krewe of Hearts Mardi Gras Ball are Barbara Potier, Burna James and David Shamieh. 11–Vivian Simon, Debra & Jerome Lastrapes looking good at Sacred Heart Krewe of Hearts Mardi Gras Ball. 12–Brent McGinley, Sally Picheloup and Gayle Cline attend the Mardi Gras Museum Grand Re-opening at Central School Arts and Humanities Center.

with ease and provided the Shadow and friends with a lovely evening’s entertainment. The theme of the Sacred Heart Krewe of Hearts 59th Annual Mardi Gras Ball was Mardi Gras in the Tropics, so table sponsors and guests decorated, prepared food and dressed with a tropical touch. Chairperson Dianne Green welcomed attendees and called on Father Mancuso for an opening prayer. Norma and Frank Antione presented the Krewe Flag, after which Deborah Carrier and James Coleman, Jr., regally costumed, paraded in and proceeded to guide the events and presentations of the evening. Representing various islands were Henry Batiste - Hawaii, Tonisha and Curtis Foster, Jr. - Molokai, Rose Gobert – Oahu, Margan Carrier Maui, Tarsa Sias - Aruba, Amanda and Craig Johnson - Bahamas and Carol and Timothy Sensely - Jamaica. The King and Queen of the Tropical Islands Mardi Gras Ball were Sheila Davis and Mark Dronet. Visiting royalty, welcomed by the Master of Ceremonies, included representatives of IHM, Krewe De Classique, Krewe Des Magnifique, Krewe de Gens de Extraordinaire and Krewe Chetu Jadi. Members of the Sacred Heart Stylistics Dancers entertained us with

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Sponsored by Technical assistance is funded in part by a grant from the Southern Arts Federation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Assisted by the McNeese Banners Cultural Series and is part of McNeese’s Black History Month activities. PAGE 36

JANUARY 22, 2009

PHOTOS SHOWN: 13–Pat Fontenot and Carol Watson dressed for the occasion at the Grand Re-opening of the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu. 14–Mardi Gras Museum supporters Irene Vandever, Denise Fasske, Angie Istre and Shanna Landry. 15–Long time Mardi Gras enthusiasts Tillie & F.J. Lungaro celebrate the Grand Re-opening of the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu.

some fancy steps. Special guests Barack Obama (Dwight Garner), the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (Willie Mouton), Jesse Jackson (Quentin Lewis) and Nelson Mandela (Deacon Ed Levine) were introduced and promptly put their heads together to talk about change. The unexpected arrival of Pope Benedict (Father Mancuso) was received by cheers and applause as he shuffled in with some pretty fancy “moves.” According to MC James Coleman, it only took about ten minutes to teach Father Mancuso the shuffle. The highlight of the evening was the crowning of the 2009 Krewe of Hearts Mardi Gras King and Queen, followed by the Presentation of Roses and Gifts

and the Royal Toast and Proclamation. There was a lively ending to the evening as guests joined royalty for the spirited Second Line March. Mardi Gras revelry got off to a quick start with the Grand Re-opening of the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu. The museum, housed in the historic Central School Arts and Humanities Center, has the largest display of Mardi Gras costumes in the world and chronicles the history of the various aspects of Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana. Anne Monlezun, founder of the museum, welcomed a lively group of attendees and introduced members of the Mardi Gras Museum Board. The addition of mechanical mannequins,


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PHOTOS SHOWN: 16–Ready to cut the ribbon at the Mardi Gras Museum Grand Re-opening is Mayor Randy Roach, assisted by the Twelfth Night Revelers. 17–City of Lake Charles employees, Ed Johnson and Zack Johnson attend the MLK Breakfast. 18–Waiting in line at the MLK Breakfast are Deadra Albritton, Kelli Barnes and Ann Barilleaux.

video footage, animated characters such as talking chickens and Gumbeaux Gator gives the museum additional tourist appeal, positively impacting on the Southwest Louisiana economy. Mayor Randy Roach commented on the wonderful way the museum highlights the Mardi Gras activities in our area. He thanked Anne Monlezun, the many Krewe members and others who were instrumental in the recent improvements and enhancements. Kay and Billy Blake, Majestic Donors to the Mardi Gras Museum, sponsored mechanical mannequins in memory of Sammy Navarra, the first Captain of Contraband and Kay’s father, Rudolph Krause, the first King of Contraband – King Charles I.

Notable attendees included F.J. Lungaro, former Krewe de la Famille board member and current board member and secretary of the Mardi Gras Museum, and his wife Tillie; Pat Fontenot, founder of Krewe du Grande Bois; and Carol Watson of Mardi Gras of SWLA. The Twelfth Night Revelers assisted Mayor Roach as he cut the ribbon amid the cheers of the crowd. Museum tours followed the ribbon cutting and king cake was provided for everyone. Ya gotta see those talking chickens! The museum is open Tues. through Fri., from 1-5 p.m., with special guided tours by appointment. The crowd was gathering when the Shadow rolled into the Lake Charles

PHOTOS SHOWN: 19–Program participants and supporters, Dianna Ross, Faye Blackwell, Pastor Freddie Brown, Anthony Bartie, Don McZeal and Mitch Faulkner prepare for the welcome at the MLK Breakfast. 20–Mark Herbert, Senator Joe McPherson and Lynn Jones visit together at the MLK Breakfast. 21–Cleo and Joseph Moffett with Dolores and Bernard Beaco get settled for the MLK Breakfast at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

Civic Center parking lot on the morn of the Martin Luther King Memorial Breakfast. Once inside, it didn’t take long for the lines to form. The 25th annual MLK Coalition Memorial Breakfast and Family Day Festival opened with the theme “I Am a Drum Major for the Dream.” The breakfast is the kick-off event for a series of events honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. The LaGrange ROTC posted the colors, Anthony Bartie welcomed us all, and the Rev. Freddie Brown blessed the food—a variety of breakfast items prepared by Joe Heacook for the long line of hungry guests. Mistress of

Ceremonies, KPLC-TV anchor Cynthia Arceneaux, brought cheers from the crowd as she intoned the idea that the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. was now a dream come true. The MLK Coalition, organized in 1990 and currently under the direction of Faye Brown Blackwell, continues to work towards peace and harmony. Milton Bellard, Pthina Brown, Ron Fontenot, Tony Guillory and Beverly Ragas, recipients of the 2009 MLK Awards, were recognized for their contributions toward furthering the dream in their community. JANUARY 22, 2009

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Below: Ringing in the New Year with friends at the home of Karen & Lynn Gothreaux. From left to right: Angel Scott, Karen Gothreaux, Cheryl Fullington, Tammy Andreas & Cheryl Wisenbaker.

Below: Logan “The Mohawk� Buck, getting his hair cut at The Stag. Son of Brenda and Darrell Buck.

Above: Emma and T Beau Faul, children of Beau and Maria Faul, smiling for the camera.

Above: Izzy, a flame-point Persian, was recently adopted by the Hackett family of DeRidder through Animal Angels.

Parting Sh o ts

1) E-mail your snap shots to myphoto@timessw.com. Must include a contact name and phone number. 2) Photos should be attached as a file and not imbedded in copy or photoshopped into a format. Original size, please, do not compress the file. No mailed or fax photographs can be used.

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JANUARY 22, 2009

3) Subjects in photo must be identified by name. Children should also be identified by parent or guardian. Unidentified or anonymous photos will not be considered for publication. 4) The Times reserves the right to decline publishing photos of questionable taste or subject matter, or for space limitations.


JANUARY 22, 2009

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Times of Southwest Louisiana  

Issue: Area Festivals, Mardi Gras and Eye Care

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