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Chance to play ‘different “Cinderella”’ made actress squeal; magical moments will make audiences will feel likewise

Advocate photo by CAROLINE OURSO  ?  Mackenzie Andrews' Cinderella comes down the stairs in her transformed ball gown in the musical, 'Cinderella' at the Ascension Community Theatre.

There will be magic. When Mackenzie Andrews twirls in the center of Ascension Community Theatre’s stage, she will transform from servant girl to princess right before the eyes of the audience. The Fairy Godmother will simply wave her wand, Cinderella will spin and it will happen in Jim Eiler’s version of the fairy… Continue reading →

Louisiana’s Brittney Pelloquin ‘on a good ol’ winning streak,’ makes it to ‘Skin Wars’ finale

GNS photo by LISA ROSE -- Louisiana's Brittney Pelloquin applies paint to her 'Skin Wars' contortionist model, transforming her into a graceful ostrich for the show's mini-challenge last week.

Brittney Pelloquin has blossomed on “Skin Wars.” The Lafayette artist advanced to Wednesday’s finale of the GSN body-painting competition series last week with her interpretation of a hibiscus. “Watching my piece come to life on stage feels amazing,” Pelloquin said in the episode. “It’s a really strong piece. The colors are beautiful, the water on the… Continue reading →

Pam’s Party Line for June 29, 2016

Photo provided by ZACHARY ANDRUS --- Volunteers of America --- At the Volunteers of America annual meeting are, from left, Secretary Kenneth Miles, Treasurer Jon Malden, President/CEO Janet Pace, Chairwoman Georgia Ford and immediate past Chairman Drew Sellers.

Outgoing board Chairman Drew Sellers passed the gavel to his successor, Georgia Ford, at Volunteers of America’s annual meeting and reception June 22 at the VOA corporate office. Taking the oath of office with Ford were board officers Vice Chairman Todd Schexnayder, Secretary Kenneth Miles and Treasurer Jon Malden. New members… Continue reading →

Patricia Gannon: Coffee anyone?

Amy Dalcour, Julie Haack, Virginia Harps, Dee Nolan

We love it when the lady of the house gets out her mother’s silver and china. Sarah Schoeffler hosted the Salvation Army Women’s Auxillary for coffee at her East Simcoe home, complete with the above and a white linen tablecloth. The appreciation coffee was held in honor of those ladies who labor tirelessly for the… Continue reading →

Louisiana artist puts fine art in your (watch) face

Photo provided by CHRISTOPHER TURNER -- Christopher Turner is putting his fine art -- this is his 'Fire and Ice' -- on your wrist through Modify watches.

Christopher Turner’s goal is to achieve a balance between fine art and commercial appeal. George Rodrigue did it, so did Hunt Slonem, whose work is on exhibit at the LSU Museum of Art. Now, Turner is applying the concept to watches. “Lots of people are interested in art, but they’re strapped in this economy,” Turner… Continue reading →

Keith Spera’s ‘Parental Advisory’: Third-graders take a bumpy ride to land’s eroding end

Advocate photo by KEITH SPERA -- Sophie Spera does her part to combat coastal restoration by planting bitter panicum on Grand Isle with her third-grade class.

Sophie prefaces our departure for her final third-grade field trip with an increasingly common request: “Dad, please don’t embarrass me.” I assure her that is never the goal, only an unintended, and probable, outcome. This last school outing is ambitious: Some 75 third-graders, plus teachers and parent chaperones, will board three school buses for the long… Continue reading →

'I had to be armed for awhile': Musicians from Angola prison reminisce for music symposium 'Angola Bound Revisited'

Advocate file photo -- Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in the early 1960s.

I got lucky last summer when I got my time … The words come naturally to Charles Neville, the memory as strong as when he was an inmate at the Louisiana State Penitentiary here. … my partner got a hundred, I got 99.… Continue reading →

Alzheimer's Q&A: What are some of the growing statistics on Alzheimer’s disease?

What are some of the growing statistics surrounding Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating brain disorder that impairs memory, critical thinking skills, personality and behavior. The disease accounts for about 60 to 80 percent of all diagnosed dementia cases, and it currently affects more than 5 million Americans. According to the latest… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge’s Pennington Research Center needs Alzheimer’s patients for memory study

A nationwide study seeking a treatment to slow memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease is underway at Baton Rouge’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and researchers are seeking volunteers diagnosed with the disease. Researchers need participants diagnosed with Alzheimer’s who have the early changes in the brain associated with the disease but do not yet have symptoms.… Continue reading →

Elizabethan Gallery show looks to the sky

The Elizabethan Gallery is hosting an early summer show titled “Louisiana: Cloudy and Bright.” Gallery artists participating in the show include Carol Hallock, Heather Ricard, Betty Efferson, Don Ayres, Nancy Harris, Katie McGarry, Lynn Washauer, Sharon Richard, Nancy Ward, Kay Lusk, Janice Evans, Krista Roche, Ed Eure, Barbara Fornias, Felicia Hunt and Keith Douglas. Although most of… Continue reading →

Summer Sounds kicks off with drummer Gerald French

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Gerald French will kick off the Summer Sounds at St. James concert series on July 6.

The Summer Sounds at St. James kicks off July 6 and continues throughout the month. Sponsored by the St. James Center for Spiritual Formation, the series of musical concerts are scheduled at 7 p.m. each Wednesday in July at St. James Episcopal Church, 205 N. Fourth St., Baton Rouge. Admission for each concert is $10; free… Continue reading →

Jamie Lynn Spears’ past, present, future in spotlight

Photo provided by TLC -- Inside a recording studio, Jamie Lynn Spears discusses her developing country music career on TLC's 'Jamie Lynn Spears: When the Lights Go Out.'

Following big sis Britney into entertainment, Jamie Lynn Spears first appeared on TV at the tender age of 11. Success and fame for the Louisiana child star came from roles on the Nickelodeon series “All That” and “Zoey 101.” Then, everything changed. Pregnant at 16 with then-boyfriend Casey Aldridge’s baby, the younger Spears dropped out of the… Continue reading →

Human condition: Smile … you’re on vacation!!!

Many summers ago, my husband and I planned a vacation trip with three small boys and my mother-in-law to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. A couple of days before we were scheduled to leave, the air conditioner went out in our minivan. The budget was tight back then. We could fix the air conditioner and stay home or… Continue reading →

Summer is sizzling season in the Capital City

Photo provided by GUY BLANCHARD --- Meet & Greet --- At Krewe Mystique de la Capitale's Meet & Greet June 5 for debutantes and pages for the 2017 Mardi Gras season at the Tyler & Possa law firm are, front from left, pages Kolbee Kenney, Cecilia LaBorde and Taegan Kenney; and, back, Kris Cangelosi and debs Meghan Drago, Caroline LeBlanc, Jordyn Courville, Adeline Holyfield, Rachel Barnett, Analisa LeBlanc-Taylor and Juliet Alise.

Summer is officially here; one step out the back door is all you need as proof. But even the heat, humidity and rain we’ve been having of late hasn’t put a stop to partying here in the Capital City. And, even though Mardi Gras isn’t until Feb. 28, local krewes are gearing up with the festivities… Continue reading →

Terry McMillan comes back in a big way with 'I Almost Forgot About You'

“I Almost Forgot About You” by Terry McMillan, Crown Publishing, $27, 355 pages, hardcover While it may seem like Terry McMillan’s absence of new work lasted a long time, there is excellent news. She’s back. Yes, the novelist who wrote big sellers such as “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got… Continue reading →

'Explosively amazing': Baton Rouge native, New Orleans resident Lynn Whitfield joins Oprah in powerful new series 'Greenleaf'

Oprah Winfrey Network photo by Guy D'Alema -- Lynn Whitfield, center, stars as Lady Mae Greenleaf in ‘Greenleaf,’ which is about the powerful family that runs a Memphis megachurch. With her are Gregory Alan Williams, left, who plays her brother, and Lamman Rucker, who plays her oldest son.

“What do you believe, Grace?” Lady Mae Greenleaf pointedly asks her daughter. “Well, Mama, I believe that the Bible is one useful tool to see to the heart of God, in the Christian tradition,” she answers. “Well what other tradition is there?” Grace’s sister-in-law Kerissa Greenleaf chimes in.… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: How atheist played big part in ex-Baton Rouge gang member becoming Baptist minister


An atheist played a part in the Rev. Robert Scott’s journey into the ministry. Scott was newly saved after running with a notorious street gang, excited about God and was looking for a church home in 1995 when the admitted unbeliever directed him to King David Baptist Church on Harry Drive in Baton Rouge. “An atheist… Continue reading →

‘Looking good’: That’s how J.C. Pero, 94, likes his Valley Park garden; this colorful video tour will wow you

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- J.C. Pero looks over one of the flower beds in the front yard of his home in the Valley Park neighborhood. He says he maintains the garden under the supervision of his wife, Viney Pero.

Drive through Valley Park just about any morning and you will likely find 94-year-old J.C. Pero working in his jewel of a yard in the neighborhood he and his wife, Viney Pero, moved into in 1942. “We moved here when the streets were dirt, and there were only three houses in the whole area,” J.C.… Continue reading →

Louisiana artist, others create wallpapers that take you on a journey

Photo provided by Anthropologie -- Wonderlands Alice would love  New Orleans artist Rebecca Rebouche's Enchanted Forest wallpaper mural.

Wallpaper goes in and out of fashion. Right now, it’s enjoying an “in” moment. There are wildly creative designs coming out of studios all over the world, including Louisiana. Some of the best take us on a journey to far flung places both real and imagined. At Anthropologie, New Orleans artist Rebecca Rebouche… Continue reading →

Community column for June 24, 2016

Photo provided by BABS BABIN -- WBR Senior Spirit -- Enjoying the scenery from the Lorrain Bridge in Hayes are West Baton Rouge Senior Spirit members, from left, Kenny Carr; John Mouch; Father Matt Lorrain, pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Brusly; Gerald Mabile; Nelson Stein and Walter Landry.

After a pot luck dinner May 31 set in the shadow of the Highland Road Observatory, Amateur Radio Vice President Jon Reise opened the meeting with a discussion of the club’s participation in operating the amateur radio aboard the USS KIDD during Museum Ship weekend on June… Continue reading →

Volunteer column for June 24, 2016

Volunteer opportunities, provided by Capital Area United Way, are outlined in this column. To learn more about these opportunities please contact the listed agency directly or visit to sign up online. BE A SUMMER READER, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Baton Rouge — (225) 383-3928: Every summer the club… Continue reading →

Family at heart of ‘The Diva Sisters’ tells ‘story that will hit home with everyone’

Photos provided by Maddgame Entertainment -- Crystal Jefferson as Lois, Antoine Pierce as Curtis and Kellie Gordon as Halie, from left, star in UpStage Theatre's summer comedy, 'The Diva Sisters,' opening June 24.

Even though it’s not yet July 4th, fireworks will be exploding at UpStage Theatre because the Pritchett sisters are coming home. And they’re staying this time. The action will unfold Friday through Sunday in UpStage Theatre’s summer comedy, “The Diva Sisters,” when the three Pritchett sisters gather to commemorate their mom’s… Continue reading →

Giddy up: Audubon Aquarium tagging, tracking its seahorse herd to learn more about mysterious fish

Advocate photo by J.T. BLATTY-- i  A seahorse wears a numbered tag at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

Recent visitors to the second floor of the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas may have noticed something a little different about its seahorses. Each member of the aquarium’s resident herd of seahorses has been tagged with a “necklace” of soft thread and tiny laminated pennant, part of a program to help researchers understand more about the… Continue reading →

Pam’s Party Line for June 22, 2016

Photo provided by VIVIAN FREY --- Saying so long --- Several hundred well-wishers came by the Baton Rouge Regional Eye Bank May 13 to say so long to retiring Executive Director Ginger Miller, left, after her more than 30 years at the helm. Taking over is Jamie Collier, who previously served as technical director.

Well, I’m back from what co-worker Smiley Anders likes to refer to as a “well-deserved” vacation in Las Vegas. Hot, but tons of fun. Fortunately, things were rather quiet on the social scene while I was gone. There were, however, some events that took place before I left town, including one bidding goodbye to one… Continue reading →

Patricia Gannon: Board Breakfast

Kathie Zimmermann, Sharon Moss, Jan Frost Williams

Susan G. Komen of Acadiana held its annual board meeting and appreciation breakfast at Joey’s, appointing some new board members in the process. “I’ll be taking notes and giving input,” said five-year survivor Monza Williams, who will serve as new secretary on the Executive Committee. Up early were Mike Crowson and Komen area directors Styphanie… Continue reading →

‘My mom is going to be so proud’: Ascension baker's tasty Peanuts-themed creation wins Food Network’s ‘Cake Wars’

Photo provided by Food Network -- Kelly Williams listens to the judges' critiques of his winning, Charlie Brown-themed cake on Food Network's 'Cake Wars.'

Geismar’s Kelly Williams, assisted by Holly Sigur Broussard of Prairieville, iced Food Network’s “Cake Wars” Monday night. The team’s winning cake — a vanilla butternut confection with pecan praline filling and vanilla buttercream frosting — impressed judges and well-known pastry chefs Ron Ben-Israel and Waylynn Lucas, along with celebrity judge Lindsey Schulz, granddaughter of Peanuts creator Charles… Continue reading →

Louisiana engineer competes in ‘Jeopardy’ on Tuesday

Photo provided by Jeopardy Productions, Inc. --‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek, left, with New Orleanian Ben Foley, who will be on the show Tuesday.

Ben Foley, a structural engineer from New Orleans, will compete on “Jeopardy!” on Tuesday. The show airs at 4:30 p.m. on WBRZ, Channel 2 (cable Channel 5 in Baton Rouge and Lafayette), repeating at midnight; and at 6 p.m. on WVUE, Channel 8 (cable Channel 9 in New Orleans), with a replay at 9 a.m. Wednesday.… Continue reading →

Health experts say pretty much anything can kill you, depending on the dose

Image provided by MetroSource

Potentially poisonous substances are everywhere — in the air, the water and even inside our own bodies. But don’t panic. “Everything is poisonous,” said Martin Ronis, a professor at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans “The only thing that matters is the dose.” From water to alcohol, everyday substances can be… Continue reading →

Alzheimer's Q&A: What's the difference between normal memory loss and Alzheimer’s or dementia?

How can I distinguish between normal memory loss and Alzheimer’s or dementia? As we age, slight changes in our intellect begin to occur. Simple forgetfulness, or “senior moments,” like forgetting where the car keys are or a delay in recalling names, dates or events, are all a part of the aging process.… Continue reading →

Health calendar for June 20, 2016: International Yoga Day; health session on marijuana effects

WHAT: Session on the effects of marijuana WHEN: Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 WHERE: Capital Area Human Services District, 4615 Government St., Building 2 Room 200, Baton Rouge DETAILS: Free; no registration required. Social worker Scott Thomas, program manager of CAHS-Addiction Recovery Services, will facilitate a discussion about the effects of… Continue reading →

At Random: A father who taught with silence

For a Father’s Day story, we asked readers to share the best advice their fathers ever gave them, a request that yielded lots of meaningful responses. But what looms largest in my memory of my own father, gone these many years, is what he didn’t say — the way he so often spoke with silence, inviting me, through… Continue reading →

Keith Spera’s ‘Parental Advisory’: What Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Dave Grohl and I have in common

Advocate photo by Keith Spera -- Sophie, Celia and Sam Spera have only sent their father to the hospital once -- so far.

When feeling overwhelmed, writing can provide a false sense of control. Thus, when my wife first became pregnant, I felt compelled to chronicle it. Nearly nine years and three kids later, I’m still scribbling about fatherhood, still seeking that elusive sense of control. In my occasional “Parental Advisory” column, the hope is that readers… Continue reading →

Inspiring Cangelosi dance group sets summer tour of local libraries around Louisiana

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Cangelosi Dance Project dancers Leslie Stevens, front, and Chelby Gremillion practice routines for their upcoming week-long tour of East Baton Rouge Parish libraries.

Kris Cangelosi keeps a close eye on the kid-filled audiences when the Cangelosi Dance Project’s Elite Select youth company makes its annual summer tour of local libraries. The kids are so mesmerized by the dancers they start emulating the dance moves during the performance. And Cangelosi makes mental notes of their movements so she… Continue reading →

Ascension bakers unite for Food Network's ‘Cake Wars’ airing Monday

Photo provided by Food Network -- Kelly Williams prepares part of the decoration for his cake during a challenge on Monday night's 'Cake Wars.'

Two self-taught Ascension Parish bakers, pastry bags at the ready, are headed to battle. Kelly Williams, of Geismar, assisted by Holly Sigur Broussard, a new resident of Prairieville, will compete on Food Network’s “Cake Wars” Monday night. In the competition series, four teams of expert bakers vie to see whose cake creation will be the centerpiece… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Southern Baptists reject the Confederate flag at convention Tuesday

The Southern Baptist Convention holds it annual meeting in June each year. Many years, actions taken at the meeting are noticed throughout the nation. The 2016 meeting was no different. On Tuesday, convention messengers adopted a resolution rejecting use of the Confederate flag. It urged “brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display… Continue reading →

Book review: ‘Stiletto’ imaginative, fun romp through London

“Stiletto” by Daniel O’Malley, Hachette Book Group, $26, 592 pages, hardcover Merging two factions that have been enemies for centuries isn’t the easiest task in the world, I imagine. But when you add in supernatural elements, it becomes an even trickier business. Luckily, it happens to… Continue reading →

Side-by-side Beauregard Town houses converted to one great living space in heart of city

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Erin and Claude Reynaud live in Beauregard Town in two side-by-side houses connected in the back by a courtyard. The couple removed the front entrance from their 1915-vintage bungalow, left. The main house, right, dates to the 1890s.

While most Baton Rougeans are dealing with the often frustrating traffic, Erin and Claude Reynaud enjoy a leisurely breakfast or sip a glass of wine in one of their two side-by-side Beauregard Town houses within walking distance of his downtown law office and many of their favorite restaurants. A dozen or so years ago, Erin… Continue reading →