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A map listing homicides or suspected homicides in EBR Parish.
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Current gas prices in BR area.

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: Crèche a little broken, like me

I never met my wife’s Aunt Pat, who died long before I entered the family. But I connect with Pat each Christmas when we unpack her crèche and place it under the tree. My wife inherited the nativity scene from Pat, which makes it an heirloom, I suppose, although nothing so grand as what you’d see on “Antiques… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: Crèche a little broken, like me

I never met my wife’s Aunt Pat, who died long before I entered the family. But I connect with Pat each Christmas when we unpack her crèche and place it under the tree. My wife inherited the nativity scene from Pat, which makes it an heirloom, I suppose, although nothing so grand as what you’d see on “Antiques… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: A dog’s view of Christmas

From beneath a quilt on these dark December nights, I occasionally sense what sounds like sleigh bells, the music of Christmas faintly guiding me to sleep. But what I’m really hearing is what I hear throughout the year — the jingle, from the next room, of my terrier’s vaccination tag as he rolls over in his… Continue reading →

At Random: Farmers are founders of our feast

My family started the holidays as we often do — by rising early on Thanksgiving, packing homemade pies as carefully as Fabergé eggs, then driving west to see relatives in Acadiana, a part of Louisiana that boasts some of the richest farmland in the state. What I like best about the drive is the openness of it.… Continue reading →

At Random: A few books to put on holiday list

Some people adore Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” and read it aloud each December, but I’ve only read it recently in a handsome edition published by Candlewick Press. There are passages in the text that sound oddly overwritten; in his writing as in his short life, Thomas was prone to excess. But we’re all in… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s 'At Random' : Moments away from news cycle abide

It’s a sickness of our country that we can’t get enough of politics, which is why, some two years before the next president is supposed to take office, there are already reporters in the Midwest, notebooks in hand, trying to handicap the Iowa primaries. But this autumn, I’ve been thinking of another man in the Midwest, also with… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random” : Older writers show how to be brief

This month, quite by coincidence, I’ve been reading three books written by men who are all well past retirement age. Experience has taught them to write concisely about big topics, a skill that no writer ever really perfects. In “The Meaning of Human Existence,” 85-year-old scientist Edward O. Wilson discusses what he’s learned about why we’re here… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: Worn out by visit with Teddy

Like soccer fans who exhaust themselves during World Cup season, staying up past their bedtimes to watch the latest televised match, my wife and I grew groggy and red-eyed over several nights this month as we screened “The Roosevelts” on PBS. New episodes of Ken Burns’ seven-part series on Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt quickly piled up… Continue reading →

At Random: Almanacs good answer to malaise

When summer’s lasted too long, and the headlines are all nasty and bleak, and the year begins to sag under the weight of its worries, I look to each autumn’s arrival of the latest farmer’s almanacs to cheer me up. The new almanacs appear in the drugstore sales racks around September, tucked beneath the recent editions of… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random” : Not going to miss moon again

I missed this month’s arrival of the Super Moon, the astronomical event in which the moon, passing particularly close to Earth, hung like a mammoth medallion in the night sky. On the Sunday of the Super Moon, I was finishing up dinner dishes, paying bills, gathering what we’d need for my son’s first day back at… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random” : After travel, pleasures of being home

Standing in the library of the Biltmore House, billed as the largest privately owned home in America, I craned my neck toward the Italian ceiling mural, scanned thousands of books on shelves that climbed like Jacob’s ladder, then tried to imagine myself in reading chairs as big as thrones. What I felt wasn’t envy, though, but homesickness.… Continue reading →

At Random: Technology builds bridges on travels

As I’ve been reminded this summer while rereading “Mornings on Horseback,” President Theodore Roosevelt’s enthusiasm for travel was a family tradition. David McCullough’s book about Roosevelt’s youth mentions that Roosevelt’s uncle, Robert Roosevelt, had some passionate opinions about travel, too. Don’t focus on the scenery when you leave home, Robert suggested in 1851. Going somewhere else,… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s At Random: Summer week ordered by Rabbit Time

The ideal speed of life, I decided after a recent week along North Carolina’s New River, is about the speed of the river itself. The current near the little town of Jefferson, where we stayed in a rented house at the river bank, seemed to flow as casually as a jazz procession, although I didn’t gauge the… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s At Random: Letters reveal nature of their writers

Not long ago, after I received a small honor from my college alma mater, my friend Bob mailed me a small note of congratulations. Bob’s handwritten letter said more about him than any email ever could. The neat, straight lines of script were just like Bob — ordered, deliberate, careful. When we write a note longhand, we place… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s 'At Random': July brings thoughts of yuletide

A few days ago, with the mercury hovering near 90, I opened our front porch mailbox and found a Christmas card from my sister-in-law, who had apparently decided that in the realm of good intentions, late is better than never. I didn’t bat an eye, since I had only recently tackled an unfinished yuletide chore of… Continue reading →

At Random: Time, not miles, splits family

My in-laws recently held a family reunion — a gathering that, like all traditions, was meant to celebrate what endures in a world of change. But even the rituals of reunions, so seemingly unaltered from year to year, slowly evolve to meet new challenges, new possibilities. This summer, for example, there weren’t quite as many… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman's 'At Random': Sunset reminds us of priorities

I never know what to get my wife for her birthday, so I’m always relieved when she tells me what she wants. Last month, as her special day approached, she asked for an evening dinner with a good view of the sunset. Her birthday brought other things, too: a crockpot, some gift certificates to the dress shop,… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s At Random: Summer guided by luck, not design

On Memorial Day weekend, informally known as the first weekend of summer, I rose early and heard crows outside the bedroom window. Although crows live here year-round, I’ve always thought of them as winter birds, their sad caw-caw-caw a kind of soundtrack for cold gray afternoons when the trees are empty of leaves and the hours are empty… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: Catching up on last year’s reading

Danny Heitman

I haven’t paid much attention to the latest summer reading lists, since I’m still trying to finish reading the books I started last summer. Twelve months ago, I decided to tackle the novels of Shirley Jackson, who’s best known for “The Lottery,” her short story about citizens of a quaint New England town who gather to participate… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: Mr. Danny’s camp for bored kids

Photo provided by MetroSource - Bored? Mr. Danny says go play in the sprinklers.

Welcome to Mr. Danny’s Summer Camp for Bored Youngsters. You’ve been sent here because, with summer still new, you’ve already complained to your parents that you have nothing to do. When I was your age, we did many things to chase away dullness when school was out. But sometimes, the years stack on top of the old… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random” : Grad advice dispensed in pajamas

Now that another commencement season has passed, maybe we should test this year’s graduates on what the commencement speakers said. I doubt the grads would remember a thing. At my own college graduation nearly three decades ago, the speaker began by noting that commencement orators are like the second-place finishers in a horse race: 10 minutes… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: Father gives daughter to the world

It’s time to fetch from the shelf my childhood copy of “Robinson Crusoe,” a book I’ve read each summer for many years now. My favorite chapter includes a scene in which the castaway Crusoe comes across some footprints, then wonders if they’re his own. I like the scene because I’ve lived in the same place for a long… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: For grad, only postal mail will do

I now own the dining set from my childhood home, so when my daughter addressed her high school graduation announcements this month, she sat at the same table where I had addressed my own graduation announcements three decades earlier. Moments like that suggest that things stay the same more than they change. But watching my daughter take… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s 'At Random': Take a pic with Mom today

After my mother died in 2008, I discovered, much to my surprise, that I couldn’t find a single picture of just her and me together. It’s not that we weren’t close. She’d been a deeply involved parent during my younger years, and even after I built a life of my own, we lived not far from each… Continue reading →

Photo gallery of our #Advocatemoms

Photo provided by Kay Charbonnet

We want to see your pictures. Post the pictures of you and your mom on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use #advocatemoms. Then visit The Advocate’s website to see a photo gallery of all of you and your moms.… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: Light of spring is best of all

We have a couple of door-length shutters on our front porch, and by closing them on hard winter nights, we can make a small, sheltered corner for some of our potted plants to ride out the frost. Although truly cold weather lifted weeks ago, I noticed the other day that the shutters were still closed, our house… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random” : Catching up on funny bird names

Nearly a decade ago, when our son was still too young to easily read for himself, he declared an early interest in mechanical science, leaving behind the shelves of “Curious George” and “Mother Goose” at the local library, and turning instead to books about electronics and engineering. On his nightstand, ready for each evening’s bedtime story, were… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s 'At Random' : In spring, a push toward life

Funerals being what they are, the one honored is always the quietest person in the room. That was certainly the case last weekend, as those of us who loved Patsy Berteau gathered to tell her goodbye. While mourners stood in the funeral parlor and swapped stories, she lay silently in a casket at the front, seemingly at… Continue reading →

At Random: Plant leads to thoughts of spring

Last month, as morning marched toward noon, I could feel the day simmering into a slow boil of hurry and worry. I had answered some early deadlines, and was heading to a lunchtime medical appointment, my son’s science fair, then a return trip to the office to finish my work. I quietly wondered how everything would get done.… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: A day prompts clapping all around

In “One Writer’s Beginnings,” her wonderful childhood memoir, Eudora Welty recalls an era when traveling circuses, to drum up business, would hold a parade in each town they visited. In her early youth, writes Welty, “there lived a little boy two or three streets over from ours who was home sick in bed, and when the… Continue reading →