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Resolution month: Losing weight is the most popular resolution, but don’t lose money too

Associated Press file photo -- Fitness Connexion trainer Nicolette Isaacs instructs Katie Barling on how to use a weight machine for a step up exercise at the gym in Bloomington, Ill. January, the start of New Year's resolution month, sees a healthy uptick in sign-ups at gyms and specialized studios offering such things as Pilates, kickboxing and yoga. But money-saving expert Andrea Woroch in Bakersfield, California, said recent statistics show 67 percent of people who join don't use their memberships at all.

— How’s that new year, new you fitness pledge going? January, the start of New Year’s resolution month, sees a healthy uptick in sign-ups at gyms and specialized studios offering such things as Pilates, kickboxing and yoga. But money-saving expert Andrea Woroch in Bakersfield, California, said recent statistics show 67 percent of people… Continue reading →

What a night for Lafayette’s Krewe of Attakapas

Photo by DANNY IZZO/Noveau Photeau -- Attakapas' Cahoula, King Lacassine XLVII Richard Charbonnet Flower, Queen Karakondye XLVII and Laughing Water Kachina Koshare

The Krewe of Attakapas, the first women’s carnival krewe in Lafayette, held its 47th annual carnival ball, “Night of the Kachina,” on Jan. 24 at Frem Boustany Convention Center, headed by its captain, Cahoula, who prepared guests for an evening of celebration, and entertained by its muse, Laughing Water, who represented the clown Kachina,… Continue reading →

Krewe of Southdowns confronts ‘Phobias’

Photo by SHERRY WILKES -- King Paul Major and Queen Mary Jo Kelly

King Paul Major of the Western Territories and Barbarian Queen Mary Jo Kelly welcomed the Krewe of Southdowns to their 28th annual ball Jan. 24 at the Lyceum Ballroom. Ball Captain Sherry Wilkes announced this year’s parade theme of “Phobias.” Master of Ceremonies Mike Raborn opened the traditional tableau. Flambeaux Captains Gus Wilkes and Thom Harris and… Continue reading →

Krewe of Desk, Derrick goes ‘Under the Sea’

Photos by Rip's Photography -- King Joe Dilmon, Queen Connie Fabreand ball Captain Katharine Kirby

The American Legion Hall on Wooddale was transformed into an underwater kingdom on Jan. 24 as the Krewe of Desk and Derrick presented its 54thd annual Industry Appreciation Mardi Gras Ball. Depicting the theme “Under the Sea,” the stage was draped in shimmering blue and silver organza. Ribbons of green seaweed and hanging glass bubbles framed the… Continue reading →

Mystic Krewe of Achilles loves ‘Summer’

Photo by Fred Frey Photography  Queen Achilles LIX Dr. Carol Ridenour Dufilho, King Achilles LIX Claude Favrot Reynaud Jr. and Achilles LIX Ball Captain Andrew Adler as Pamela Anderson.

The 59th annual Mystic Krewe of Achilles Ball, “Summer Lovin’,” on the night of Jan. 24 lit up the Baton Rouge River Center, where towering palm trees, umbrellas and beach balls set the stage for the summer-themed tableau. The festivities started with the presentation of King Achilles LIX Claude Favrot Reynaud Jr. and her majesty Queen… Continue reading →

Couple leads Krewe of Denham Springs

Photograph by Debbie Medlock Photography-- King Michael Bienvenu and Queen Lynn Bickham Bienvenu

The Krewe of Denham Springs held their 35th annual Mardi Gras Ball Jan. 24 at the North Park Recreational Center. Michael and Lynn Bickham Bienvenu were crowned king and queen. The couple joined the Krewe of Denham Springs 12 years ago as members of the Krewe of Mystic Summer, later… Continue reading →

McCartney recalls ‘My Carnival’ on ‘Venus and Mars’ re-release

Photo by SidneySmithPhotos.com -- Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney, dressed as clowns for Mardi Gras, 1975

During the 1975 Carnival season in New Orleans, Paul McCartney celebrated his first and only Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Forty years ago this month, McCartney, his wife, Linda, and members of the former Beatle’s 1970s band, Wings, flew to New Orleans to record their fourth album, “Venus and Mars.” And on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 11, 1975,… Continue reading →

Taking on hazardous duty after military discharge

My first job after discharge from the U.S. Navy as World War II ended was as reporter for the McAlester, Oklahoma, News-Capital, our hometown daily newspaper. That day, I had been to the state employment agency, seeking to sign up for what the government called “rocking chair” payments. Veterans were given $50 per month till they could… Continue reading →

About Town for Jan. 25, 2015

WHAT: Meeting of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren WHEN: 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 29 WHERE: Family Roads, 323 E. Airport Drive, Baton Rouge INFORMATION: (225) 229-8257 WHAT: Recycled Reads WHEN: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31 WHERE: 234 Little John Drive, Baton Rouge INFORMATION: ebrpl.com/ Continue reading →

Pam's Party Line for Jan. 25, 2015

You know Mardi Gras in the Capital City is in full swing once you start seeing lots of pink. It means the Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe, better known as Spanish Town Mardi Gras, is starting to party, and no one does it better. Spanish Town Royalty The Lyceum was awash in a sea of pink for the… Continue reading →

Ex-literary agency aide makes nonfiction debut with ‘Salinger Year’

'My Salinger Year' by Joanna Rakoff

“My Salinger Year” by Joanna Rakoff. Knopf, 2014. $25.95. Joanna Rakoff’s nonfiction debut chronicles her year spent as the assistant to the head of a literary agency in Manhattan in the late 1990s. The agency’s most important client? J.D. Salinger, hence the title. A bright and eager 20-something,… Continue reading →

La. native’s first novel has little bit of everything

'The Saints of Lost Things

“The Saints of Lost Things: A Novel” by C.H. Lawler. CreateSpace, 2014. $19.99. Love blooms as Hurricane Betsy sloshed ashore in Louisiana in 1965, and Louisiana native C.H. Lawler’s first novel takes Sammy Teague and Betsy Duplechain through a gauntlet of history, of class, of race and even a little bit of the… Continue reading →

LSU concert highlights students

Photo provided by the LSU School of Music -- The LSU Trombone Choir will be among the many student ensembles featured in the LSU School of Music's annual nonstop concert, Concert Spectacular on Friday, Jan. 30, in the LSU Student Union Theater.

Audience members were few in the early days. Fans of the LSU School of Music’s Concert Spectacular might find this hard to believe, but Bill Grimes remembers. He produced the school’s first nonstop concert in collaboration with then Dean Ron Ross. The show featured a diverse program of musicians and genres within… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar for Jan. 25, 2015

Here’s what’s going in the local arts and cultural scene: “Brave Steps: The Louisiana Native Guard,” runs through March 22 at the West Baton Rouge Museum, 845 N. Jefferson Ave., Port Allen. The exhibit marks the last year of the U.S. Civil War Sesquicentennial. (225) 336-2422, westbatonrougemuseum.org. Registration is open… Continue reading →

Patricia Gannon: And the winner is...

As a former movie columnist, I consider it my duty to help society make sense of the Academy of Motion Pictures Oscar nominees. Rest assured, there is a method to its madness, and it never takes long for the pattern to emerge. In fact, with very little exception, it is the same selection process as always, and you… Continue reading →

Getting financially fit in 2015

Advocate staff photo by Patricia Gannon -- Linda Malin is a certified financial planner with UBS.

Linda Malin used to accompany her grandmother when she conferred with her stockbroker. As a little girl, Malin didn’t know what was happening, but somehow knew her grandmother was taking care of business. “She was unusual for her time,” Malin said. “When I grew up, it became my ambition and business to manage money like my… Continue reading →

Wings hopes Bibles first step of ministry

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- Wings of the Spirit mission group members load Gospels of John into their plane at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport. Board President Ryan Williams, left, hands booklets to pilot Gerald Huggins, center, and videographer Daniel Waghorne. Huggins and Waghorne will fly the Super Cub into Central America in February to distribute the Spanish-version Gospel of John to remote villages.

Whenever Gerald Huggins sees video or photographs of poor, barefoot children, especially in Central America, he gets emotional. “I identify with them because I was one of those kids,” Huggins said. “It touches my heart.” A seasoned pilot and president of GH Enterprises, an aircraft maintenance company at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, Huggins, 64, was… Continue reading →

Meet Joshua Johnson, Baton Rouge's rapping, youngest Catholic priest who 'never liked' church as a kid

A young Catholic priest who enjoys rap music had a few confessions about his faith and his music: He didn’t like the Catholic Church as a youth, and he doesn’t want to simply be known today as the “Rapping Priest.” At 27, the Rev. Joshua Johnson, of Christ the King Catholic Church at LSU, is the youngest… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for Jan. 24, 2015

A MATTER OF LIFE AND LOVE: University Presbyterian Church, LSU campus. A regional conference of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. The Rev. Road Cynthia Rigby, W.C. Brown theology professor, Austin Theological Presbyterian Seminary will be the keynote speaker. The Rev. Road Kenneth E. Kovacs, pastor of Catonsville Presbyterian Church in… Continue reading →

How Baton Rouge’s Pam Westbrook transformed a shed into a knockout art studio

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Pam Westbrook works and teaches art classes in her studio she created from a prefabricated shed.

Local artist Pam Westbrook took a prefabricated shed and created a knockout art studio in her Capital Heights backyard. It’s a place of her own. “There are things you can’t do in somebody else’s building,” says Westbrook, who had been working and teaching at a studio with other artists on Choctaw Drive, miles from her… Continue reading →

Meet Claude Lindsey -- a photographer whose favorite part of Mardi Gras centers around pictures

Photo provided by Claude Lindsey -- Claude Lindsey, the operations manager for the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, is an avid photographer who enjoys turning his lens on Mardi Gras parades and parties in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Claude Lindsey prefers to experience Mardi Gras through a camera’s lens. For 18 years, he has photographed the party at Baton Rouge and New Orleans parades and balls during Carnival season. Lindsey delights in sharing the photos with friends and family. “You can tell somebody how much fun you’ve had,” he said,… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Community column for Jan. 23

Latrice Warr

Ethel Taylor spoke about the success rate and origins of New Year’s resolutions when Preceptor Beta Epsilon Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi met Jan. 7 at Taylor’s home. A 2007 University of Bristol study of 3,000 people showed that 88 percent failed to keep their resolutions. The… Continue reading →

Garden news: Now is the time to plant Irish Potatoes in Louisiana

Photo by KIKI FONTENOT -- It's potato-planting season, so get them in the ground before the end of February to enjoy the harvest.

We’ve begun the season for planting Irish potatoes in Louisiana, with prime planting days from now until the end of February, says LSU AgCenter vegetable expert Kiki Fontenot. The best way to plant potatoes is to dig a shallow trench about 4 inches deep, place sections of seed potatoes about 12 inches apart and then cover… Continue reading →

Looking to volunteer in Baton Rouge? Here are some opportunities

To learn more about these volunteer opportunities provided by Volunteer! United at Capital Area United Way, contact the listed agency directly. MALE VOLUNTEERS NEEDED, Capital Area CASA — Jennifer Mayer, (225) 379-8598: Capital Area CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Association, a nonprofit organization that recruits and trains community volunteers who speak… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Try these recipes with deer or duck meat for something tasty and a little different

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Gourmet Galley, deer sausage with sauted peppers for sandwiches,  and elk wrapped in bacon

Fortunately for me I’ve always had hunters and fishermen in my family, so I’m used to having wild game and fish available. Now, my grandsons, James Poché, 14, and Thomas Rimes, 12, are avid hunters. Each of them bagged a deer recently so I have a nice little stash of smoked deer sausage for gumbo or… Continue reading →

EBR Main Library to host preview of ‘EARTH: A New Wild’

Photo provided by Ami Vitale -- Dr. M. Sanjayan, a leading conservation scientist, visits with baby pandas in 'EARTH: A New Wild.'

The new five-part PBS series, “EARTH: A New Wild,” will be previewed at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the library are hosts for the event. The series, premiering at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, on WLPB, Channel 27 (cable Channel 12), takes a… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Will French tea cakes be next trend?

Advocate photo by Cheramie Sonnier  --  Madeleines au Chocolat is a French tea cake version of the classic puff pastry, pain au chocolat.

Talk about specializing. Barbara Feldman Morse has written a cookbook limited to madeleines, the French seashell-shaped pastry. “Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake & Share” is filled with more than 70 recipes that Morse says she developed through years of experimenting to expand on the classic vanilla-flavored madeleine. In her book, Morse does such a… Continue reading →

An LSU student, retail manager, more: What to expect when you watch American Idol's New Orleans auditions Thursday night

Fox photo by MATTHIAS VRIENS-MCGRATH -- 'American Idol' judge Harry Connick Jr., third from left, is back in his hometown of New Orleans with host Ryan Seacrest and fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban for Thursday's show.

Looking for talent for its 14th season, “American Idol” again headed to judge Harry Connick’s hometown, New Orleans, last summer. Continue reading →

‘Nightwatch’ takes over while New Orleans sleeps

A&E photo by RICHARD KNAPP -- EMTs Titus Tero, at back of gurney, and Dan Flynn, in front, are seen answering a call on A&Es new original series, 'Nightwatch.'

The debut episode of “Nightwatch” ends as it begins, with an unidentified woman’s chilling chant: “I have yet to see the rain fall on just one man’s house, and I will say a prayer for my city, because one day this rain will have to stop falling on New Orleans.” Her battle cry against the deadly… Continue reading →

Common Ground: We all need support from others

From overcoming the death of a parent to strengthening bonds between a father and son, winners and nominees in area Student of the Year contests have pushed though life’s challenges to become academic scholars, star athletes and activists in their communities. While reading essays on Iberville Parish students, I discovered the sources behind their success: Families, teachers,… Continue reading →

Pam’s Party Line for Jan. 21, 2015

Photo provided by CHARLES BENNETT --- Women's Council --- At the Women's Council of Greater Baton Rouge's installation luncheon are, from left, Kristina Shapiro, Karen Vingiello, Sydney LeJeune and Dee Mather-Muenzler.

Karen Vingiello was sworn in as president of the Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge at its installation luncheon Jan. 8 at First Methodist Church. Also taking the oath of office from past President Kr istina Shapiro were Secretary Penny Stobaugh, Treasurer Mary Beth Groze, assistant… Continue reading →

Patricia Gannon: Our new favorite

Chad Theriot, Rachael and Ethan Sudul

The Krewe of Carnivale en Rio showed its fun Brazilian side to a full house at the Cajundome Convention Center. Latin cuties welcomed the crowd upon arrival, but inside all was on “Lock Down” for King Dom Pedro Blake Williams and Queen Isabel Lynn Williams. Keeping law ’n’ order were PR Director Rachael Sudul, “Judge Judy”… Continue reading →

Mardi Gras fashion is all about the bling

The first round of king cakes have been eaten and Mardi Gras balls fill everyone’s calendar here in south Louisiana. If you’re still looking for the perfect dress or accessory, we have some great ideas from Dillard’s, Macy’s, Russo Ross and H&M. While beaded gowns go in and out of favor, they’re typically a… Continue reading →

Girl Scouts hit the Internet to bring you their famous cookies with just a few clicks

After 90 years of selling cookies, the Girl Scouts are keeping up with the times. From now through March you can use your credit or debit card to purchase gluten-free cookies online from local Girl Scouts along with the old-time favorite Thin Mints, Samoas and Do-Si-Dos. The new gluten-free Toffee-tastic cookie is a buttery cookie… Continue reading →

Community column for Jan. 20, 2015

Photo provided by LOWELL TILLEY -- 'Reflections in the Garden' -- Allen Owings, LSU resident professor at the Hammond Research Station, gave a historical outline of the development of roses to the Burden Horticulture Societys 'Reflections in the Garden' program Jan. 5. Shown are, from left, Mary Tauzin, Sarala Palliyath, Owings and Sheila Billingsley.

Sharon and Gordon Phares and their grandson, Michael Polozola, were among the Baton Rouge area winners at the Northshore Camellia Club’s annual show Dec. 20 at St. Scholastica Academy in Covington. Gerald Phares is Baton Rouge Camellia Society president. The Phareses won runner-up in the small camellia japonica category, and Polozola won best species runner-up. Gordon… Continue reading →

‘Picture Your Park’ exhibit seeking applicants

Baton Rouge Gallery, a BREC facility at 1515 Dalrymple Drive, is now accepting photography submissions for the juried exhibit “Picture Your Park.” Visitors to City-Brooks Park should capture a photographic image of the BREC park setting. Located on 154 acres in the southwestern part of East Baton Rouge Parish near LSU, City-Brooks Park encompasses a… Continue reading →

High on Yoga: Unata aerial yoga eases joints, allows deeper practice poses

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Student Reba Robertson, left, hangs in her aerial silk hammock as instructor Luciana Harris bring the  Unnata aerial yoga class to a meditative close.

Aerial yoga can twist your body into gravity-defying positions and stretch muscles that have been tight for years, experienced practitioners say. But first, you have to trust a delicate-looking loop of fabric that hangs from the ceiling. At an introductory workshop for this new form of an ancient practice, 35-year-old Deanna Dino… Continue reading →

Permits point to soaring numbers of La. women arming themselves

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  Shannon Maggio is part of the skyrocketing number of women who own guns, like her Smith & Wesson Bodyguard revolver, which has a laser sight.

A skyrocketing number of women are buying guns. In Louisiana, the growing interest in firearms among women — especially for self-defense — is shown by the number of concealed carry permits. In 2000, women received 228 permits, which was 14 percent of those issued. That grew to 17 percent in 2005, then spiked to 26 percent… Continue reading →

Artemis parties at Mardi Gras Soirée

Photographs by Eric Frank Photography --- Duke Shane Martin, Maid Devyn MacDonald, Queen Artemis XIV Cheryl Avegno Callerame, King Artemis XIV Dr. Kevin Callerame, Duke Keaton Koch and Maid Courtland Langley.

“It’s Always a Party with Artemis,” especially for the krewe’s 14th annual Mardi Gras Soirée on Jan. 17 at the Baton Rouge River Center Ballroom. Reigning over the festivities were Queen Artemis XIV Cheryl Avegno Callerame and her husband, King Dr. Kevin Joseph Callerame. The royal couple made their entrance to the krewe’s traditional… Continue reading →