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Looking for some Valentine's Day fun? How about dinner and movie

Advocate file photo -- We'll have what Meg Ryan's having in 'When Harry Met Sally,' also starring Billy Crystal.

It’s Valentine’s Day. Don’t panic if this is news to you, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite dinner and a (romantic) movie duos. “I’ll have what she’s having.” Was it the deli’s turkey sandwich she ordered and promptly remade to her own liking that put Meg Ryan over… Continue reading →

‘Bayou Gardens’ opens for camellias

Photo provided by DAVID STOUGHTON -- Camellia Gardens Open House in Lacombe

See a sprawling display of colorful camellias at the 7th Annual Camellia Gardens Open House at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex headquarters in Lacombe Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The free event is presented in partnership with the Northshore Camellia Society and the Camellia Club of New Orleans.… Continue reading →

Human Condition: How many rings does it take to get married?

I know it’s a corny old joke but one worth repeating in light of my current predicament. How many rings does it take to get married? The standard answer: three — the engagement ring, the wedding ring and the suffer-ring! As Maria and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in July, I’m reminded… Continue reading →

Community briefs for Feb. 13, 2016

WHAT: Lavish Linens sale, a fundraiser for the Lane Regional Medical Center Auxiliary WHEN: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16 WHERE: Lane Regional Medical Center, West Wing Conference Room, 6300 Main St., Zachary INFORMATION: (225) 658-4309 DETAILS: Sale includes sheet sets, comforters and bamboo pillows at discount prices. Cash, checks and credit… Continue reading →

LSU production timely in wake of Oscars controversy

Photo by JASON LOCKHART  -- Maja Dupas plays Ana Mae Simpkins, Breon Cobb  plays Vera Stark and Fola Afolayan is Lottie, from left, in LSU Theatre's production of 'By The Way, Meet Vera Stark.'

Vera Stark could have been the poster child for today’s Oscar controversy. She made the transition from vaudeville to Hollywood in the 1930s with dreams of being in the movies. Those dreams were dashed when she learned directors wanted black actresses only for the maid’s role. The same could be said for her real life —… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: Learning the art of the cheap date

When they were courting in the 1920s, my maternal grandparents often passed the time by walking to the depot to see the trains arrive. It seems, by modern standards, about as interesting as watching paint dry — not the sort of itinerary, in other words, that many lovers would embrace this Valentine’s Day. But my grandparents… Continue reading →

One Book hooks on to ‘Kingfish’

As befits an election year, the 10th annual One Book One Community selection will look at Louisiana’s most famous — or infamous — politician. “Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long” by Richard D. White Jr., dean of LSU’s Public Administration Institute, is a pull-no-punches examination of the man who dominated the state’s political scene from 1928-35… Continue reading →

SW La. Mardi Association holds Grand Ball

Photos by Jay Faugot Photography -- Maids Mary Carolyn Michot, Lauren LaHaye and Olivia Lerille

Gabriel LXXVII Dewitt “Zeen” David and Evangeline LXXVII Katherine “Katie” Blanchet, daughter of Bill and Rebecca Blanchet, reigned over the Grand Ball of the Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association on Mardi Gras evening. The Heymann Performing Arts and Convention Center stage, depicting an interior palace ballroom scene, provided the backdrop as members of the Royal Court… Continue reading →

New York ensemble to perform at SLU

The New York-based ensemble Iktus Combo will perform a contemporary music concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Pottle Auditorium in Hammond. The event is free. Iktus Combo is a modern chamber group combining classical music with rock ’n’ roll. The ensemble comprises four members — Erin Rogers, saxophone; Andrea Lodge,… Continue reading →

LSU Theatre to present drama ‘Almost, Maine’

The LSU Theatre Lab Season will present John Cariani’s drama, “Almost, Maine,” a production the New York Times calls “sweet, poignant and witty,” Tuesday through Sunday, Feb. 16-21. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, in the LSU Music and Dramatic Arts Building, Dalrymple Drive. Carla Lahey directs the story that… Continue reading →

Exhibit features ‘Flowers & Photos’

Photo provided by CYNTHIA MORAN -- Functional and abstract table design will be featured at The Fine Art of Dining on Saturday and Sunday at the Baton Rouge Garden Center.

“Flowers & Photos,” an exhibit featuring photos by the Louisiana Photographic Society and tablescape designs by the Baton Rouge Garden Club, is set for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, at the Baton Rouge Garden Center in Independence Park, 7950 Independence Park Blvd., Baton Rouge. Proceeds from… Continue reading →

LSU Jazz Showcase Concert set Tuesday

Tickets are on sale for the LSU Jazz Showcase Concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the Claude L. Shaver Theatre in the LSU Music and Dramatic Arts Building. LSU’s Jazz Studies Area, led by Bill Grimes, Willis Delony and Brian Shaw in the School of Music, will include the Jazz Lab Band, Jazz Ensembles and… Continue reading →

SLU hosting ‘Sherlock Holmes’

“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” a traveling production of the Aquila Theatre, will be performed for one time only at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, 220 E. Thomas Road, Hammond. Tickets are $25-$39 ($13 for SLU students) and are available at the Columbia Theatre box office… Continue reading →

Teen hopes to inspire young people with book of devotionals

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- Teen devotional writer Victoria Lira, author of 'I Have Called You for Such a Time as This,' works on her second book at the kitchen counter with her Bible, laptop and notebooks.

When Victoria Lira was 7 years old, she had a dream of being in the clouds with her younger brother, Joshua, in what evangelical Christians call “the rapture.” That dream of going to heaven was so powerful and memorable, she wrote it down in a diary.… Continue reading →

Salvation Army seeks relief for men’s shelter

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Maj. Mel James and Maj. Esther James, of the Salvation Army in Lafayette, say the Empty Bowl fundraiser on Feb. 25 will benefit the men?s shelter.

Maj. Esther James is a Salvation Army pastor with 47 years in the ranks. But her mission is far from over. To benefit the church’s men’s shelter, the Salvation Army will host its second annual Empty Bowl fundraiser Feb. 25 at River Oaks in Lafayette. “When the men come to us — some have… Continue reading →

Here are this week's religion bulletins: Feb. 13 - 20


CLOTHING GIVE AWAY: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Shady Grove 1st Missionary Baptist Church, 16443 Plank Road. Free clothes for men, women and children. A short fellowship will be held at noon with light refreshments. CELEBRATION OF BLACK HISTORY: 9 a.m., Evening Star Baptist Church, 16301… Continue reading →

BR minister takes over New Iberia church

The First Presbyterian Church of Iberia Parish, established in 1895, announces its new location at 1401 Parkview Drive. The church has hired the Rev. Linda Kelly as pastor. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Kelly most recently served as interim pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge.… Continue reading →

Dog porch, workshop, lots of bookcases: See Walnut Hills home renovated for owners' unique interests

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Linda Bowsher stands in her living room, which opens from a front hall that was added in 2002, one of several renovations made to the home she shares with her husband, Bob Bowsher.

Through three major projects and a few minor ones, Bob and Linda Bowsher transformed what she called the “Baton Rouge version of a ranch house” into a modern traditional-style showplace. It’s also become the perfect background for his handmade furniture, her art, family pieces and items collected over decades. The Bowshers purchased their home in… Continue reading →

BREC speaker to discuss native vegetation

Kathy Stites, of the BREC Capital Area Pathways Project, will speak on plans for connecting people and parks using native vegetation for restoring habitats, streams and banks at the Sunday, Feb. 21, meeting of the Capital Area Native Plant Society. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 1:30 p.m. at… Continue reading →

Garden news: Cinco de Mayo named Rose of the Year

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS, LSU AgCenter  Cinco de Mayo, which has unique smoky lavender to rust-orangy red blooms, is the 2016 Gulf District Rose of the Year.

The Gulf District of the American Rose Society has named Cinco de Mayo as the 2016 Gulf District Rose of the Year. “Cinco de Mayo is an outstanding floribunda rose that has done well in southern United States trials since its 2009 introduction and is an All-America Rose Selections winner,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings.… Continue reading →

Prairieville mother of four a ‘stone-cold’ competitor on ‘Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge’

Photo provided by CMT -- Emily Rachal, of Prairieville, lugs a weighted bag  as on a running course as Steve Austin cheers her on in 'Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge.' 'I’m not a huge wrestling fan,' she says of Austin, 'but once you meet him, he’s kind of larger than life, big personality.'

A gym set with swings and a slide is commonplace in family backyards. An obstacle course, not so much. But when Emily Rachal’s physical training kicked into high gear, her husband, Richard Rachal, saw it as an opportunity for a home project. “He’s the mastermind behind the whole obstacle course,” said Rachal, 33,… Continue reading →

Louisiana Sinfonietta concert set for Sunday

Angela Draghicescu

The Louisiana Sinfonietta will take on a decidedly international flavor for its concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, in the LSU School of Music Recital Hall on Dalrymple Drive. Diverse instrumental soloists originally from Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Brazil and Mexico will join with the chamber orchestra to present classical music from Germany, Italy and Greece in… Continue reading →

Patricia Gannon: Meet the Press

Dewitt and Neetzie David

His Majesty King Gabriel LXXVII Dewitt Clinton David Jr. and Queen Evangeline LXXVII Katherine Elise Blanchet conducted their first official media interviews at the Woodvale home of royal parents Bill and Rebecca Blanchet. Television and newspapers alike gathered to meet Their Highnesses, who posed for photographs amid their families.… Continue reading →

‘Killing Fields,’ which focuses on LSU graduate student's unsolved murder, wraps season Tuesday night

File photo -- Eugenie Boisfontaine

The first-season finale of “Killing Fields” airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday on what would have been Eugenie Boisfontaine’s 53rd birthday. LSU graduate student Boisfontaine’s unsolved murder has been the focus of Discovery Channel’s first true-crime series, about the remote killing fields or dumping grounds across the country where killers stash their victims. Boisfontaine,… Continue reading →

New Orleans chef, 'Top Chef' contestant will cook on ‘Today’ show Tuesday

Photo by Denny Culbert -- Isaac Toups

New Orleans chef Isaac Toups, currently competing on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” will appear on the “Today” show Tuesday morning on NBC. For hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, Toups will make his version of crawfish étoufée as his idea for a romantic Valentine’s Day meal. Toups will use Louisiana ingredients including crawfish, rice, and… Continue reading →

‘Legally Blonde’ gets snappy

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Paulette, left, played by Alaina Richard, gets a little advice from Elle Woods, played by Camille Nolan, on how to do the 'bend and snap'  in a scene from the LSU Musical Theatre Club's production of 'Legally Blonde.'

Yes, there will be a “bend and snap.” It’ll happen in the Harvard Square beauty shop in the stage musical, just as it does in the 2001 Reese Witherspoon vehicle, “Legally Blonde.” “The play follows the film closely, and it wouldn’t be complete without the ‘bend and snap,’” says John Michael… Continue reading →

Community briefs for Feb. 9, 2016

Sandy Bailey

Guest Hilda Krousel spoke on her book, “Landmarks and Monuments of Baton Rouge,” to the John James Audubon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution Jan. 18 at the Woman’s Club. She showed photos of the monuments and told about her research. Members… Continue reading →

It's not 'a man thing': Heart disease a top killer of women; campaign uses Louisiana stories to raise awareness

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Estelle Martin, 74, had a family history of heart disease, and she always took care of herself and ate well. But at Christmas in 2004, she felt unusually tired and had pain in the center or right side of her chest. She went to the doctor and found that she had major blockages.

Heart disease is the top killer of American women, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths. But many women still think of cardiovascular disease — heart attacks, strokes and arrhythmia — as “a man’s disease,” according to the American Heart Association. The Go Red for Women campaign, devised by the Heart Association in 2004,… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A: What is leukemia?

What is leukemia? According to the National Cancer Institute, leukemia is a cancer of the blood. It starts in blood-forming tissue and produces large numbers of blood cells that then enter the bloodstream. There are different types of leukemia: chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia.… Continue reading →

Alzheimer's Q&A: What do I need to know as a caregiver?

My husband has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. What are some things I should know or do as his caregiver now? The first thing to do is to learn as much as possible about the disease. The book, “The 36-Hour Day” by Dr. Peter Rabins and Nancy Pace, is an excellent resource for caregivers and… Continue reading →

Le Krewe du Roi resurrects Studio 54

Photos by AARON CORMIER -- King Roi LII Vince Puhl and Queen Roi LII Emily Iledah Aucoin

Plaquemine’s Le Krewe du Roi brought the renowned nightclub Studio 54 back to life to celebrate their 52nd annual Mardi Gras ball Feb. 6 in the Carl F. Grant Civic Center. Reigning over the evening were King Roi LII Vince Puhl and Queen Roi LII Emily Iledah Aucoin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Timmy Aucoin and… Continue reading →

Butterfly collages flutter at Louisiana Art & Science Museum

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Zander Kirkland, 11, of Wilson, discovers the beauty David Humphreys' 'Cymothoe sangrias' at the  Louisiana Art & Science Museum's  'Flutterby:Butterfly' exhibit.

Author Robert A. Heinlein called butterflies self-propelled flowers. “They’re nature’s art,” Victoria Bayless says. “Each one is a surprise.” So when the Louisiana Art & Science Museum paired butterfly specimens with brilliant photo collages of the dazzling insects, it was a case of science meets art. And the result, “Flutterby: Butterfly,” is absolutely… Continue reading →

Human Condition: Beauty, wisdom bloom below the surface

After almost three decades of gardening in Uptown New Orleans, I’ve seen innumerable stands of aspidistra. Some folks call it the cast-iron plant. You’ve seen it, too — large, strappy, dark green leaves, usually in shady spots. There’s so much in our neighborhoods that it usually fades into the background, its contribution to the landscape often… Continue reading →

Review: Strong heroine, historical tidbits make ‘Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante’ a fun read

‘Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante’ by Susan Elia MacNeal, Bantam Dell/Random House, $15, paperback “Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante” is the fifth book in Susan Elia MacNeal’s series about Maggie Hope, a special agent for England. In this story, she travels with Winston Churchill across the pond as he negotiates wartime business with Franklin… Continue reading →

About Town for Feb. 7, 2016

WHAT: Lunchtime talk on “Ash Wednesday in Louisiana” WHEN: Noon Wednesday, Feb. 10 WHERE: Louisiana State Museum, 660 N. Fourth St., Baton Rouge ADMISSION: Free INFORMATION: (225) 342-5428 DETAILS: Ash Wednesday is one of the most important holy days in the liturgical calendar, as it opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. This… Continue reading →