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Joel Podolsky expresses artistic side through gardening; take a video tour

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Dr. Joel Podolsky stands in his bed of giant ligularia, a part of his 'painted garden' that also includes a man-made creek with three waterfalls flowing into a koi pond.

Dr. Joel Podolsky started his garden as a small memorial to his father, but over time it expanded to a decades-long artistic endeavor. “What I was really doing was artscaping rather than landscaping,” he says. When Podolsky purchased his contemporary-style home just north of LSU in 1993, the yard had tall pine trees lining the… Continue reading →

Garden News: Experts keep eye on tomato diseases

Photo by CRAIG ROUSELL, LSU AgCenter  Southern bacterial wilt is devastating to tomatoes because it attacks young plants during vegetative growth.

LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Raj Singh says he has never seen so many different diseases of tomatoes in one season. Known as the LSU AgCenter plant doctor, the director of the Plant Diagnostic Center says of the diseases reported, the first he heard about earlier this season was white mold, also known as timber rot. White… Continue reading →

Community column for May 27, 2016

Photo provided by LIZ WAKJER -- GLAD Red Hat Society -- At the May 17 meeting and luncheon of the GLAD Red Hat group at Barnes & Noble Booksellers are, seated from left, Polly Williams, Janet Tuthill, Judy Howe and Anke Marks; and, standing, Sally Daigle, Linda Crane, Carol LaRouche, Mariece Knight and Liz Walker.

Several Baton Rouge area students received degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi during spring commencement exercises May 13-14:Students from Baton Rouge are: Blakeley Danielle Bark, bachelor of arts; Alissa Makay Clouse , bachelor of science; LaTrisha M. Blunt ,… Continue reading →

Volunteer column for May 27, 2016

Volunteer opportunities, provided by Capital Area United Way, are outlined in this column every Friday. To learn more about these opportunities please contact the listed agency directly or visit to sign up online. DISTRICT EXECUTIVE (PAID PROFESSIONAL), Istrouma Area Council — (225) 926-2697: The district executive defines and declares the… Continue reading →

'Real down-home wedding’: Photos from Governor's Mansion reception for John Bel Edwards' daughter

Photo by LEE WHEELER -- Bride and groom Samantha Bel Edwards and  Jonathan Ricau are surrounded by family and the wedding party at their reception at the Governor's Mansion May 21. Pictured are, front row from left, Sarah Ellen Edwards, John Miller Edwards, Gov. John Bel Edwards, first lady Donna Edwards, the bride and groom, Alison Ricau, Jackson 'Jack' Ricau Jr. and Whitney Watkins; second row from left, Bobby Hutto, Helen Hutto, Kristina Temple Dale, Shelby Reid and Kathryn Hutto McElveen; and, back row from left, Adam Abraham, Michael Burks, Christopher Wood, Brandon Ankeny and Jackson 'Jay' Ricau  III.

When you’re the governor’s daughter and you’re getting married, a huge splashy wedding with lots of dignitaries might be expected. Not so for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ daughter Samantha, who grew up in the small town of Amite. For her, it was all about family and friends. Samantha Bel Edwards, 24, and Jonathan Paul Ricau, 25,… Continue reading →

The night ‘God worked overtime’: Ex-Israeli soldier recalls 1976 ‘miracle’ hostage rescue in Uganda

Advocate staff photo by GEORGE MORRIS -- Sassy Reuven, who participated in the daring 1976 raid to rescue more than 100 hostages in Uganda, tells his story here in a meeting sponsored by Chabad of Baton Rouge.

When Israeli Defense Forces rescued 102 hostages held by terrorists in 1976 in Uganda, it bolstered its military image to mythic proportions. But one of those soldiers has an admission. “There is not even a single doubt in my mind there was a miracle over there,” Sassy Reuven said Sunday night in Baton Rouge. “As one of… Continue reading →

Pam Bordelon: Banquet honors local nurses

Photo provided by Cleve Brown Photography --- Nursing honors --- Baton Rouge District Nurses Association President-elect Valerie Schluter, left, presents the Helen Johnson Cremeens Excellence in Teaching Award to LaTonya S. Dorsey, center, while Baton Rouge Area Foundation representative LaToria Thomas presents her the accompanying monetary award.

It was all about the nurses and those who teach them when the Baton Rouge District Nurses Association held it 27th annual Celebrate Nursing Banquet May 2 at Boudreaux’s. LaTonya S. Dorsey, an instructor at Our Lady of the Lake College, received two awards — the Helen Johnson Cremeens Excellence in… Continue reading →

Special looks at challenges facing La. veterans

Photo provided by LPB -- Husband and wife veterans Ken and Stella Gibson will share their story of being guided by Natural Resources Conservation Services to develop their 40 acres in Rayville during the viewing party for 'Louisiana Veterans Coming Home' at LPB on Wednesday.

Louisiana and 11 other states have the second-highest percentage of veterans ages 25 and younger. A Louisiana Public Broadcasting special explores the challenges that these post-9/11 and other veterans face upon their return stateside and the resources available to assist them as they transition back into civilian life. Veterans and the public are invited to the… Continue reading →

Patricia Gannon: Junior League Dinner

Kelly Breaux, Katie Bernhardt, Julie Broussard

The Junior League of Lafayette hosted its sustainer members for a dinner at The Doubletree Hilton. Ladies congregated upstairs for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres first with a banquet to follow. “We’ve changed,” said sustainer Tori Guidry. “The age requirement is gone. When you find the right time in your life, the Junior League is here.”… Continue reading →

Volunteers learn about flora, fauna of the world to pass along to others

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Budding master naturalists Jody Shugart and Janie Braud listen as Mark Swanson, a graduate student with LSU's Museum of Natural Science, explains the characteristics of a coyote skull.

The naturalists want to see the flesh-eating beetles. During this trip to the LSU Museum of Natural Science, these first trainees of the new Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater Baton Rouge have heard much about these bugs that researchers use to clean the bones of animals they’re studying. Sadly, they would be disappointed… Continue reading →

Patricia Gannon: ’Til Divorce Do Us Part

Paula Dronet, Paula Gibbens

In America, where a third of marriages will end in divorce, you’d think society would know how to respond. Whether it’s the cavalier attitude of those divorcing or the fact that others think the condition’s contagious, the soon-to-be unwed are often society’s undead — still walking among the living but not quite the same. Divorce is… Continue reading →

Cangelosi Dance Project’s latest is a program of celebratory dance

Advocate staff photo by ROBIN MILLER -- The Cangelosi Project's Company Show will close out the season on Friday, May 27, in the Manship Theatre with a program of celebratory dances.

There will be jazz and tap and ballet and contemporary dance when the Cangelosi Dance Project stages its company show Friday. “It’s a variety program, and though we don’t have an official title for it, it’s a program of celebratory dance,” says artistic director Kris Cangelosi of the show at the Manship Theatre. Dancers from… Continue reading →

Community column for May 24, 2016

Photo provided by THORNTON COFIELD -- Amateur Radio Club -- Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club President Richard Burroughs, left, and member Dave Assaf visit after Assaf spoke about an expedition to the South Georgia and Thule islands at the club's April 26 meeting.

Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club member Dave Assaf spoke about an expedition to the South Georgia and Thule islands to the club on April 26. He was part of a monthlong trip on an international team of 13 amateur radio operators setting up and… Continue reading →

Prebiotic created by LSU researchers helps feed good bacteria

Photo provided by ISOThriveISOThrive is a prebiotic nectar based on technology created by LSU AgCenter scientists.

Good bacteria in your gut are the talk of the medical world. Doctors have found that these helpful microorganisms — called probiotics — create a barrier against harmful substances and can help prevent some diseases. But to stay healthy, probiotics need a food source — certain carbohydrates that researchers have named prebiotics. “The probiotics… Continue reading →

Health calendar for May 23, 2016: Baton Rouge General hosts stress management program; health testing available

WHAT: Baton Rouge General program on stress management WHEN: Noon Thursday, May 26 WHERE: Baton Rouge General Bluebonnet campus, Conference Room 1 & 2, 8585 Picardy Ave., Baton Rouge REGISTRATION/INFO: Free. or (225) 387-7904 DETAILS: The seminar will explore how to tell the difference between bad and good reactions to… Continue reading →

Music headlines the previous week's activities

Advocate staff photo by PAM BORDELON --- Symphony Great Performers --- With guest artist Renée Fleming at a post-performance VIP reception at the Shaw Center for the Arts are, from left, conductor Timothy Muffitt, Jack and Paula de la Bretonne, Fleming, Diane and Johnny Tate, Alice Kronenberger and Baton Rouge Symphony President Cary Byrd.

From the elegance of the Baton Rouge Symphony’s Pennington Great Performers in Concert with the amazing Renée Fleming to the beginnings of disco with the Village People at “Emerge into Dance,” oh what a week it was. Soprano Renée Fleming held the audience spellbound as she… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Assmebly set to present 17 debutantes in November

Elizabeth Margaret Armstrong

The Baton Rouge Assembly will present 17 debutantes at its annual ball Nov. 25 at the Baton Rouge River Center. The debutantes will be introduced to the wives of the Assembly members and their guests at a tea Wednesday at the Baton Rouge Country Club. The 2016 debutantes are Elizabeth Margaret Armstrong, daughter of Mary and… Continue reading →

Celebrating a founder of the Baptists

While much of the religious world readies to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, an anniversary of a later “reformation” isn’t being heralded as loud. 2016 marks 400 years since the death of Thomas Helwys, one of the founders of the Baptist denomination. Helwys was an English country gentleman and lawyer. Helwys… Continue reading →

Home of ex-WBRZ news anchor, husband defined by artwork, local influences

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Margaret and Martin Schott enjoy their living room, which opens to a courtyard they often use for entertaining.

Lawyer Martin Schott’s office is less than a half a block up the street from the home he shares with his wife, former WBRZ news anchor and medical reporter Margaret Lawhon Schott. “A wall divides the commercial section of Wrenwood (Boulevard) from the residential section,” explained Margaret Schott. “You can see the back… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge native gives teens a make-up hand to get to the prom

Photo provided by MYEKA GREMILLLION -- 'He’s not any different in person than he is on TV. He has a wonderful personality,' Myeka Gremillion, left, said of TLC's Monte Durham.

When Dinair emailed in March, Myeka Gremillion said “yes.” The Hollywood-based airbrush makeup company was seeking volunteers for a project with TLC, “Say Yes to the Prom,” which gives deserving girls a “fairytale transformation” for their big night. Baton Rouge native Gremillion, a hairstylist and makeup artist now living in Killeen, Texas, completed a Dinair… Continue reading →

Garden News: Daylilies low on maintenance

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS, LSU AgCenter -- Now is a good time to shop for new daylilies when plants are in bloom, and you can select the ones you prefer, like the bright Mr. Clifford daylily.

Serious gardeners know daylily by its scientific name of Hemerocallis, Greek for “beauty” and “day.” As the name implies, daylily flowers open for just one day. The best daylilies for today’s landscapes, however, make many buds and can bloom for upwards of three months. Daylilies are low-maintenance plants in the landscape, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist… Continue reading →

Volunteer column for May 20, 2016

Volunteer opportunities, provided by Capital Area United Way, are outlined in this column every Friday. To learn more about these opportunities please contact the listed agency directly or visit to sign up online. PARENT RESOURCE HELP CENTER, The Emerge Center — (225) 343-4232: Volunteers are needed to help out with at the… Continue reading →

Louisiana actor Anthony Mackie reflects on portraying MLK in HBO film ‘All the Way’

Anthony Mackie who plays Falcon, speaks to reporters during a blue carpet arrival at the Marina Bay Sands on Thursday, April 21, 2016, in Singapore, for the latest Marvel movie release, "Captain America: Civil War." (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) ORG XMIT: SIN114

New Orleans-born actor Anthony Mackie had earlier opportunities to portray Martin Luther King Jr. on-screen, but the script for “All the Way,” an HBO film adaptation of Robert Schenkkan’s Tony Award-winning play of the same title, was the first time he’d seen the man he believes King to have been on the page in full. Co-starring Bryan… Continue reading →

Pam’s Party Line: Hats off to all the graduates

Photo provided by JOHN OUBRE III --- BRAC on the Bluff --- Taking part in the Baton Rouge Area Chamber's Around the Table event hosted by Southern University President Ray and Norma Belton at the Donald C. Wade House on the SU Baton Rouge campus April 28 are, from left, Richard Barbalace, Gundela Hachmann, Jill Roshto, Robyn Merrick, Makesha Judson, the hosts, Ashley Herrick, Renée Stephens, Lanier Flanders, Adam Orlando and Jim Stevens.

Congratulations to all the graduates — college, high school, middle school, elementary and even, as grandson TJ did last week, Pre-K. You have reached a milestone in your life, and we’re all proud of your accomplishments. Follow Pam on Twitter @pamspartyline. Items for Pam’s Party Line must be received by 9… Continue reading →

Patricia Gannon: Hall of Fame

Philip, June and Elizabeth DeBaillon

Junior Achievement of Acadiana’s Business Hall of Fame filed into the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Student Union ballroom for cocktails and congratulations. Junior Achievement is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to giving the young the knowledge and skills they need for economic success. Celebrating a bit of their own achievement were Rising Young Business Leader… Continue reading →

Nuns 'who look like little angels' with 'faces of mercy' key part of new Baton Rouge-area home for victims of human trafficking

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --Sabrina Whitaker, left, executive assistant to State Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles, greets Sisters Anna Maria Mathew, Alexandrine Rasoanirina and Norma Nunez, three of the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy nuns who will live on-site at Metanoia Manor, to teach and minister to the residents. Sen. Johns was a primary carrier of the legislation that made the project possible.

When the Rev. Jeff Bayhi’s vision of a home for underage victims of human trafficking turned toward reality, he spoke with Sister Eugenia Bonetti, who oversees several such facilities in Italy. One part of his plan was non-negotiable. “I told her, ‘I’ve got the money, but I’m not doing it without nuns,’” Bayhi said. Now,… Continue reading →

No wrong notes: ‘The Piano Lesson’ teaches black history and the strength to move forward

Photo provided by New Venture Theatre -- Brandon Lewis plays Boy Willie  in New Venture Theatre's production of August Wilson's 'The Piano Lesson.' The play is set in Pittsburgh during the Great Depression and explores the troubled relationship of siblings. The show is rated PG-13 and will be performed Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the LSU Shaver Theatre in Baton Rouge. Tickets are $27. For information, visit

August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson” is concentrated in one family, yet it encompasses the black experience in the United States. “To me, this is one of his most brilliant works,” says Greg Williams, artistic director of New Venture Theatre, which opens the play on Friday. “I look at August Wilson as sort of a prophet with his… Continue reading →

Moms on the run: Doctors say no need to stop jogging when baby’s on the way

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Brittany Martin, 5 months pregnant, goes for a run on the levee at Lake Pontchartrain, near her home in Metairie on May 6.

Brittany Greiffenstein knows running. When the New Orleans endurance athlete became pregnant with her daughter Amelia, now 1, she was running at least 4 miles on most weekdays, up to 9 on weekends. She has completed triathlons and two marathons, among other races. “I just enjoy running outside and being outside and that feeling you… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: Are youth failing us? Think again

One of the common hazards of getting older is the tendency to think that the next generation is going to the dogs. Here’s a quote from Socrates, speaking thousands of years ago: “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children… Continue reading →

Patricia Gannon: Dear Millennials …

Ramesh, Paresh, Roma, and Padma Kolluru

As a generation, millennials officially outnumber everyone now and have begun calling the rest of us “dear.” They do this via email and in their face-to-face conversations. No one quite knows why, only that they should stop. As if YOLO were not enough. The few who can get away with “dear” are grandmothers, Santa Claus, people… Continue reading →

Charity Ball Association to honor 16 debutantes

Alexandra Leigh Cox

The Charity Ball Association of Baton Rouge will present 16 young women at its annual Le Bal de Noël Dec. 29. The 2016 debutantes will be honored Tuesday, May 17, at a French picnic at the home of Lynn and Beau Box. Debutantes are Alexandra Leigh Cox and Olivia Marie Cox, daughters of Sandra and… Continue reading →