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Dixon Correctional's 'Pen Pals' program rehabilitates pets... and inmates, too

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Dixon Correctional Institute inmate Jason Broom, right, leads an excited pit bull named Murphy out of his pen, accompanied by Department of Corrections Sgt. Casey Cooley,  the Pen Pals shelter manager.

For a handful of inmates at Dixon Correctional Institute, every other week means seeing companions leave the prison, never to return. It’s only natural if that makes them envious. But for this group, the departures evoke another feeling — accomplishment. DCI is home to Pen Pals, an animal shelter that… Continue reading →

Vet school, prison, pets benefit from ‘Pen Pals’

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Sam gets a little love from LSU School of Veterinary Medicine veterinarian and associate professor Wendy Wolfson, left, and Vet School student Molly Grubb after getting shots and worm treatment from them.

LSU veterinary students likely expect their studies to take them somewhere. They might not expect it to be behind razor wire. The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, however, has some unconventional clients. It’s a partnership that works for both parties. That is certainly the case for Pen Pals, the animal shelter based… Continue reading →

'Mystic' art exhibit on display until Aug. 12 at Shaw Center for the Arts

Advocate staff photo by ROBIN MILLER -- Jonthan 'feral opossum' Mayer's 'Amiteeauxsaurus Crossing.'

In the depths of south Louisiana’s waterways lurks the Armiteauxsaurus, the vicious monster that taunts kids with brightly colored bubbles then swallows them. Some people don’t believe in its legend, while others tread carefully at the Amite River’s Armiteaux Crossing, the place for which the creature is named. It’s here where it stands in a bulky swamp,… Continue reading →

Pam's Party Line: Ciao, Baton Rouge

Advocate staff photo by PAM BORDELON --- Italian Festa --- With entertainer Lena Prima, third from left, at the kickoff to the Greater Baton Rouge American Italian Association's Festa weekend are organizers Frank Arrigo, Nicky Dimaio and Phillip Cancilleri.

Visit Baton Rouge CEO Paul Arrigo changed my last name to Bordoloni for the Greater Baton Rouge American Italian Association’s Festa last weekend. It was two days of pure fun! It started off with the magnificent performance by Lena Prima, daughter of the king of swing, the late… Continue reading →

Patricia Gannon: Are those politically correct clothes?

Marlon Jackson, Jennifer Jackson

Overarching political correctness hit Target this week, making it the most recent victim of yet another online backlash. Their T-shirt that reads “Trophy” across the chest has drawn the digital pitchforks, who claim it is sexist, objectifies women and is degrading to humanity, followed by the argument that the word renders a woman disposable. Despite the… Continue reading →

Arts calendar for August 2, 2015

Here’s what’s happening in the area arts and cultural scene: The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra Chorus is conducting auditions for the 2015-16 season. To schedule an audition, call (225) 924-6269 or email For more information, visit Tickets are on sale for a local production of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar… Continue reading →

Human Condition: Making the world a better place without fanfare

In the Old Testament story of Ruth and Naomi and their deep attachment to each other, the wealthy landlord Boaz is stricken at first sight of Ruth. So stricken that he had his people show her where to gather, told her to take more than what was allotted, told her she could not gather in anyone else’s… Continue reading →

Kids’ Orchestra seeks elementary students

Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- Conductor Pat Lavergne leads a practice session earlier this year for the Kids' Orchesta, which is now registering youngsters for the upcoming after-school program.

Registration is open for the Kids’ Orchestra’s after-school music program, which can accept 800 students in the 2015-16 season. All youngsters from kindergarten through the fifth grade in East Baton Rouge Parish are eligible to enroll. The after-school program offers music instruction twice a week. Kids’ Orchestra also provides homework assistance, transportation and a snack.… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge area book events for August 2 - 8

Book events FICTION WRITERS WORKSHOP: 7 p.m., EBR Greenwell Springs Regional Branch Library, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road. Workshop is a small group designed for fiction writers of every category to gather, share and discuss their work. Attendees can expect in depth critiques and creative… Continue reading →

Leaders unite in prayer against crime in cities

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- About 200 people march from the Governor's Mansion to the State Capitol on July 25 as part of the 12th annual World Link of Churches and Businesses 'Save Our Cities Now Prayer Initiative.' The group spent two hours in preaching, music and praying on the Capitol Steps for America and its cities.

The sounds of gospel music and fervent prayers to heaven boomed through loudspeakers across downtown as hundreds of people attending the 12th annual Save Our Cities Now Prayer Initiative gathered on the State Capitol steps under a scorch-ing sun. The Saturday morning rally was hosted by the World Link of Churches and… Continue reading →

Speakers rally crowd with fiery political rhetoric

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- State Rep. Randall Gaines told about 200 people gathered on the State Capitol steps on July 25 that their voting rights are being eroded.

At times, World Link’s Save Our Cities prayer rally on the State Capitol steps last Saturday seemed more like a political rally with elected officials and speakers from the NAACP, the Nation of Islam and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference speaking to the crowd. “Right now, the rights that were won in the ’60s are being eroded,”… Continue reading →

Preschool’s new director is 1st who also attended it

Sherry Kairdolf Beard

Sherry Kairdolf Beard spent her preschool years at Broadmoor Presbyterian Preschool. Now the 39-year-old is in charge of it. Beard is the first director of the 56-year-old preschool to have attended it. Prior to being named director, Beard taught 4-year-olds at the school for 10 years. The school starts on Aug. 10, with orientation on Aug.… Continue reading →

Food, exhibits featured at Faithfest on Aug. 7-9

Photo provided -- James Linden, left, and his father, Jim Hogg

Faithfest 2015 is being held Aug. 7-9 and will include Christian music, films, food, book-signings and presentations. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7; from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8, and from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, ending with a faith rally. It will be… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Animals of the Bible

In this week’s Pray section, a story tells of families from New Jersey who will sleep in buildings at the Philadelphia Zoo as a cost-cutting measure on a trip to hear Pope Francis. The zoo buildings house insects and birds. Will any of those critters they are sharing quarters… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for August 1, 2015

Pastor Ronald A. Sutton and Lady Mary C. Sutton

Sunday RECOVERY SUPPORT ADDIS WOMEN’S GROUP: 6 p.m,. Church at Addis, 6781 La. 1. For individuals seeking freedom from destructive habits. (225) 776-1652 or email RECOVERY SUPPORT ADDIS MEN’S GROUP: 7 p.m., Church at Addis, 6781 La. 1 S. For individuals seeking freedom from any strongholds. (225)218-5630… Continue reading →

Community News for July 31, 2015

Photo provided by the Rev. NINA RUSSELL -- Genealogical and Historical Society -- Representatives of five heritage societies spoke at a Patriots Roundtable at the Baton Rouge Genealogical and Historical Society. Shown are, seated from left, Mara Coiron, Lea Sinclair Filson and Naomi Mann; and, standing, Yvonne Lewis Day, Stella Tanoos, Brenda Perkins and Clifford Normand.

Representatives of five heritage societies led a discussion at the Baton Rouge Genealogical and Historical Society meeting July 18 at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library. Panelists from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants were Lea Sinclair Filson, national governor general; Mara Coiron, Louisiana Division governor,… Continue reading →

At LSU's game design camp, students endure crashes, code errors because 'it's all worth it at the end'

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Hannah Vautrot, 14, left, and Courtney Lawrence, 14, work on their game, Jiggler, at LSU's GameCrash camp.

In the computer world of Jiggler, the maze is tough. Then the walls start moving. Designed by Hannah Vautrot and Courtney Lawrence, both 14, over two-and-a-half days at LSU’s game design camp, GameCrash, Jiggler may be a little too hard. “We may have over-complicated it for ourselves,” says Vautrot with a slight smile… Continue reading →

Pam's Party Line: A phantom breakfast instead

Photo provided by GINGER MILLER --- Phantom Breakfast --- Getting together to mail out invitations to the Baton Rouge Regional Eye Bank's annual Phantom Breakfast are committee members, from left, Terry Moloney, Lee Caplan, Margaret Rome, Barry Allen, Marlene Colter, LaMarylis Newman, Ginger Miller, Vivian Frey, Wes Devillier, Linda Michelli, Casey Coughlin and Roxanne Berthelot.

You have to love an event, especially a breakfast one, where you don’t have to buy a ticket, get dressed up or even drive anywhere. So, thank you Baton Rouge Regional Eye Bank for again hosting your Phantom Breakfast. Executive Director Ginger Miller recently assembled her committee for a morning of fun as they stuffed and addressed… Continue reading →

Common Ground: Girl Scout experience a treasure

Photo provided by MICHELLE WEEKS -- Girl Scout Sophie Weeks

Though I never earned Scouting awards or sold many cookies, my short stint as a Girl Scout exposed me to adventures I still treasure. There was the camping trip to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Robert, where I canoed and swam with my fellow Scouts in a man-made lake. There were troop meetings where we… Continue reading →

Happy Bartday: Prairieville family celebrates son's second birthday with Morris Bart-themed party

Photo provided by L'ERIN DOBRA -- What birthday party is complete without an appropriately decorated cake?

When her son turned 2 years old earlier this year, L’erin Dobra had the typical quandary — choosing a birthday party theme. Pirate? Firefighter? Superhero? Harry Potter? What? It turns out, little Grayson had been giving her hints. “Before he could walk or talk, every time the Morris Bart commercial would come on, he was… Continue reading →

They’re being cute again

TNS/Los Angeles Times photo by Ken Kwok -- Bribery usually works when photographing your pet. For dogs, try squeaky toys or treats. For cats, treats, catnip or a toy.

Your pet is doing that thing again. It’s the cutest thing ever, and it must be snapped, shared and forever immortalized on social media. Cats and Dogs of Instagram, here we come. But what happens? Just as you reach for the camera to compose the killer shot, your subject bolts. The moment is gone forever, as are your… Continue reading →

Community briefs July 28, 2015

Photo provided by LORI JOHNSON -- National Teen Best Dancer -- Baton Rouge dancer Payton Johnson, right, with choreographer Jason Parsons,  earned the honor of National Teen Best Dancer at The Dance Awards.

Baton Rouge dancer Payton Johnson, 16, has earned the honor of National Teen Best Dancer at The Dance Awards July 5-12 in New York City. The University High School student was chosen over 130 contenders from the United States, Canada and Mexico.… Continue reading →

Associated Press photo -- 'Raising Can-Do Kids: Giving Children the Tools to Thrive in a Fast-Changing World' by Richard Rende, Ph.D., and Jen Prosek

— Hard work, persistence, initiative. Can the skills found among entrepreneurs help today’s young people navigate their way to success? Absolutely, say a developmental psychologist and a successful public relations company founder who have teamed on a new book, “Raising Can-Do Kids.” Self-entitled kids may be able to navigate their way into… Continue reading →

Pennington study tests what role diet, exercise play in infertility, ovarian cysts

One of the most common causes of infertility in women may be cured with exercise or a healthy diet. Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center are testing whether walking on a treadmill and eating better work as a treatment for polycystic ovarian syndrome, a disorder that causes cysts to form on a woman’s ovaries and raises… Continue reading →

Get tight glutes by raising the barre

TNS/Los Angeles Times photo by Cheryl A. Guerrero -- This move, the fold over, will help build lean muscle by lifting the glutes and defining the hamstrings. ORG XMIT: 1170393

So simple. Yet so hard. That’s the best way to describe this dance-inspired move from Suzanne Bowen, creator of BarreAmped. It looks easy and yet … well, try it for yourself and you’ll see. This move is called the fold-over, and it will help you build lean muscle by lifting… Continue reading →

Alzheimer's Q&A: How to transition somone into adult day care

My sisters and I want our mom to attend an adult day center for more socialization, but she is very hesitant to the idea. How do we make such a transition more comfortable for her? Adult day services offer a variety of benefits for the individual with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and research indicates stimulation early… Continue reading →

Embracing a new grain for a fresh take on bibimbap bowls

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Crispy millet bibimbap, roasted sesame sweet potatoes with peach gochujang sauce

Bibimbap is incredibly trendy in urban centers right now. Not familiar with it? You’ll want to be! Bibimbap is a Korean rice bowl — white rice topped with meats, veggies, kimchee (intensely pickled cabbage) and hot sauce. Often, the meat is tossed in Korean barbecue sauce, lending a perfect sweetness to balance out the tangy and spicy… Continue reading →

Health briefs for July 27, 2015

WHAT: O Baby Expo WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1 WHERE: Ochsner Medical Center, hospital lobby, 17000 Medical Center Drive, Baton Rouge ADMISSION: Free RESERVATIONS: Email The first 30 people to RSVP will get a free diaper bag. DETAILS: Event will include educational sessions on such topics as car-seat safety,… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A: What are some risk factors for bladder cancer?

What are some risk factors for bladder cancer? Is it a common cancer? As with most cancers, the exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown. However, there are risk factors that can increase the chance of developing the disease. According to the National Library of Medicine, cigarette smoking has been attributable to 50 percent of bladder… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: Summer heat holds everything still

As homework for her photography class, my wife recently was told to take a picture of something in motion, an assignment easier said than done in south Louisiana summers. Nothing much moves here at this time of year, not much at all. Our neighborhood lawnmowers whir to life shortly after sunrise, then again near dusk. If you… Continue reading →

Pam's Party Line: Hot, hot summer nights

Advocate staff photo by PAM BORDELON --- Celebrity Waiters --- Serving as waiters for the Children's Advocacy Center's annual Celebrity Waiters event are, front from left, Steve Ward, Rick Perry, Dr. Beau Clark, Mike Strain, Sid Gautreaux, Sharon Weston Broome, Gary Rispone and Whitney Vann; and, back, Gordy Rush, Cliff Vannoy, Sheldon Mickles, David McDavid and Roger Cador.

Barely recovered from hosting the Miss USA Pageant contingent, L’Auberge Casino & Hotel was again the hot spot in town the night of July 15 with two big events taking place. It was crawling with former LSU athletes and coaches as the site of both the Children’s Advocacy Center’s Celebrity Waiter Event and the Suits &… Continue reading →

Theatre Baton Rouge names award winners

Jacob Voisin

Theatre Baton Rouge presented its winners of its 2014-15 season at its annual Beaux Arts Ball on July 25. This yearly awards ceremony and party honors the theater’s volunteers, from actors to interns. This year’s winners featured several Theatre Baton Rouge veterans, as well as many new faces: PRESIDENT’S AWARD: Mary and Bill… Continue reading →

Easy to be engrossed in astronaut’s quest

'Watch the Lady' by Elizabeth Fremantle

“The Martian” by Andy Weir. Crown, 2014. $25. I started seeing “The Martian” pop up on a lot of “best of” lists a few months ago, and when I found out it was being made into a movie starring Matt Damon, I knew I had to pick up a… Continue reading →