The Celebration of Life event, which is slated for Dec. 1, will commemorate musicians who are no longer with us as well as those who are still very active on the stage. They’ll be regaling their audience with gospel, Cajun, zydeco, oldies and other musical forms that are beloved in the area.
Among the musicians being remembered at this event is Nelson Bergeron, a great musician who played with Mickey Gilley in the 1950s, and also played with the likes of Phil Menard and Nathan Abshire. Bergeron is the late husband of the Celebration of Life’s host Linda Bergeron. Linda relates that the Bergeron family was “musically inclined; even the sisters would play.” Linda says the event will celebrate all area musicians and family members, both those who are living and those who are no longer with us. A table will be set aside for those who would like to bring a picture of their lost loved one.
The event will begin Dec. 1, 10 am, at 2362 Claude Hebert Rd. in LeBleu Settlement. It will go on until guests have had their fill of music and food. Dishes being served will include Sonnier sausage, barbecue and either jambalaya or hen gumbo. Guests are invited to bring lawn chairs.
Leroy Thomas and Chris Miller will be among those performing at the celebration.
It sounds like a mighty big event. But Johnson says, “Jesus and me will do it with the help of my son Jason … I’m going to have it going.” We can’t do enough to celebrate the memory of musicians who brought us joy in days past.
Oodles Of Poodles
Tami Tolbert of Sulphur has just released her first children’s book, Oodles of Poodles. The book is co-authored by Lake Charles native Melissa Alford and illustrated by Agus Prajogo.
Tolbert based the book on her granddaughter Avy and that youth’s devoted love for anything that’s related to poodles.
In the story, five-year-old Avy wants nothing more than her own poodle. When Avy’s parents decide she’s not ready for a puppy just yet, her friends and family come to her rescue with what might be the next best thing … “oodles of stuffed poodles.”
Avy eventually proves to her parents that she’s ready for a real live puppy. In the process, she learns important things about God and prayer.
Tolbert says the book “teaches children’s lessons of responsibility, accountability, love, and faith.” Tolbert hopes her first children’s book will teach readers “to trust in God’s plan, even if his answers are not what we expect.”
The author says that adults as well as children will enjoy the book.
Tolbert is a mother of four children and grandmother of 12, with that total likely to climb.
Oodles of Poodles is published by Mascot Books. The volume is available for pre-order now via Amazon and other online retailers. For information about Oodles of Poodles, contact Melissa Alford at email@example.com.
The Invincible Nutria
In the fall issue of 64 Parishes magazine, correspondent Morgan Randall provided a brief history of some of the unsuccessful ways in which the state of Louisiana has tried to deal with its most destructive giant rodent — the nutria.
Way back in 1963, the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries published a booklet suggesting that families go out and hunt nutria together to get food for dinner. Nutria recipes were included in the booklet. Families didn’t get on board with the plan. (Randall states that the number of nutria in Louisiana had grown from a few dozen in the 1930s to three million in 1963.)
Numbers may have diminished somewhat in the 1960s and ‘70s when there was a demand for nutria fur. At one point, two million nutria pelts were being sold per year. But changes in the culture made fur coats unpopular, and the nutria was again free to multiply with almost no limits.
In 1998, the Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries again tried to get Louisianans interested in eating nutria. It distributed flyers stating that nutria had more protein, less fat, and lower cholesterol than turkey, chicken or beef.
It was thought that people might be more likely to devour the rodent if it were called something other than “nutria.” Suggested alternates were “ragondin” (the French word for nutria) and “bayou rabbit” (not because nutria hopped but because they were supposed to taste like rabbit).
Enola Prudhomme (sister of chef Paul Prudhomme) and chef Philippe Parola were asked to come up with nutria recipes; they responded by creating such delicacies as smothered nutria, culotte de nutria à la moutarde [nutria culotte steak with mustard], and nutria à l’orange.
Before this new culinary offensive could really get started, it was stopped in its tracks by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA required that mammal meat that was moved across state lines had to be caught and killed in a slaughterhouse. That rule shut down the widespread consumption of an animal that had to be hunted in the wild.
While we aren’t likely to be eating nutria, the nutria will continue to eat the roots of the marsh grass that holds coastal Louisiana soil together.
Local Wins Murrow Award
The Edward R. Murrow award is one of the greatest achievements a journalist can earn. To win one is to ensure that for the remainder of your career you will be held in high esteem. And after your career, your work will be remembered.
An Edward R. Murrow award has just been awarded to a 1999 mass communication graduate of McNeese State University. Erica Young has spent the last 14 years as a news producer at the NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston. She was at work on the day of the 2018 school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. Her role as the producer for the 6 pm broadcast that day has been recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association with the Edward R. Murrow Award.
“This award is all about the compassion and details we were able to bring our viewers,” said Young. “This tragedy is nothing to celebrate, but it’s incredible to know that our peers noticed our effort to bring top tier reporting to our viewers without forgetting how to be sympathetic to those experiencing such a terrible day.”
Young believes she received outstanding preparation for a journalistic career at McNeese. “The mentors I had at McNeese, like Dr. Carrie Chrisco, helped me fall in love with the craft,” she said. “Being able to work one-on-one with faculty who have traveled the world telling stories was beyond anything I could have imagined. Plus, having that direct connection to my professors continues to have a huge impact in my career. It’s all about networking.”
Young worked with KPLC as a full-time producer all four years she attended McNeese. “Just like my professors, I can still reach out to many of the people I worked with at KPLC,” says Young. “To have a relationship with so many incredible professionals has always helped me move forward in my career and all of that can be traced back to McNeese.”
A Murrow Award is a feather in the cap for Young, McNeese and Lake Charles.
Edward R. Murrow’s 1954 broadcast of his TV program See It Now is generally thought to be the key factor in ending the fanatical efforts of Sen. Joseph McCarthy to find a communist behind every bush — efforts that were called “McCarthyism” or the “Red Scare.” Murrow compiled a program made entirely of clips from McCarthy’s speeches in which the demagogue repeatedly contradicted himself.
The program was considered extremely risky, and Murrow’s network — CBS — refused to pay for it. Murrow bankrolled the program himself.
Public reaction was swift and widespread, with opinion running 15 to 1 against McCarthy. A single journalist had ended the most repressive movement in American history in half an hour.
Another children’s book will be the star of the show at the Calcasieu Parish Public Library on Sunday, Dec. 8, starting at 10 am.
The book is titled The Tale Of The Tiger Slippers, and the author, Jan Brett, will be glad to sign a copy. She’ll also provide some drawing demonstrations so that the audience can see how the colorful book was illustrated.
Brett’s press release states that she has 42 million children’s books in print.
Every year, Brett tours the country in a large bus covered with art from her latest book. She’ll be bringing her tour bus right into Lake Charles. During the course of this year’s tour, Brett will turn 70.
During her career, Brett has tried to present the wonders of nature and the varieties of cultural expression in books that please children, parents and teachers. Her art is both meticulous and whimsical. It’s inspired by her thorough research of the flora and fauna and local cultures throughout the Americas, the Arctic, Europe, Africa and Asia. For her latest project, she visited India’s top national parks to study wild tigers.
Brett’s books have been chosen as best children’s books of the year by such publications as The New Yorker, Parents and Redbook.
The Calcasieu Parish Public Library is located at 301 W Claude St. If you need to more know about the event, call 337-721-7116.