It’s time once again for the Up Fronter to inform all readers that the biggest book sale of the year is coming up fast. The annual book sale at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Charles will take place March 20 through 22. As always, thousands of books (an entire gym’s worth) will be on sale. And, as always, the last day of the sale will be the big bag sale, at which buyers can fill an entire bag with books and pay only $5 for all of them.
The hours of the book sale are Friday, March 20, 8 am to 6 pm; Saturday, March 21, 8 am to 4 pm; and Sunday, March 21, 11 am to 4 pm. The church and gym are located at 715 Kirkman St. in Lake Charles.
Other Dogs In Another Parade
If you move quickly after the publication of this issue, you can see an alternative to Lake Charles’ parade of the Krewe of Barkus. I’m referring to the Krewe of Wag-uns parade, which starts rolling in Natchitoches on Saturday, Feb. 22, 3 pm.
The parade will begin at 814 Washington St., then move south on Front Street.
If you attend the Krewe of Wag-uns affair, you will be choosing Natchitoches dogs over Lake Charles dogs. The reason is that the two parades take place at exactly the same time.
Of course, since it’s Natchitoches, it should be easy to eat fresh, warm meat pies while you watch the parade.
If you make it to town a couple of hours before the parade, you can head over to the Louisiana Sports Hall of fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum at 800 Front St. (the same street the parade will go down). There you can see an exhibit of paintings by Natchitoches folk artist Clementine Hunter.
After growing up on the Hidden Hill plantation, where she was born in 1886, Hunter began painting when she was working at Melrose, an artist colony established by Carmelite Henry. She painted African-American people in the Cane River community engaging in everyday activities at Melrose. She’d paint on anything — including bottles and buckets and ironing boards, and produced more than 5,000 art works. She sold her early paintings for as little as a quarter. But the value of her work increased rapidly after Look magazine ran a feature story on her in 1953. She died in Natchitoches in 1988. (Thanks to MSU’s Janet Allured for this information.)
Big News For Small Businesses
On Jan. 29, the state Supreme Court ruled by a 4-3 margin that large online retailers such as Walmart and Amazon don’t have to collect state taxes from online sales made by small businesses that operate through the corporations. Last year, more than 60 percent of Amazon’s sales were made by third parties who distribute their goods through Amazon.
Jefferson Parish brought the suit. The fallout for Jefferson (and every other parish) is that if they want to get sales tax from third party sales, the state Legislature will have to pass a law requiring the sales tax and explaining how it is going to be collected and who will collect it. So, if you’re selling stuff through Amazon or eBay, this is probably good news for you.
Brain Drain? Still Workin’ On It.
What can Louisiana do to stop its much publicized brain drain (that is, the departure of Louisiana college graduates who move to other states for better job opportunities)? Lafayette claims it has stopped its brain drain, and is actually picking up college-educated workers. The problem is, the city is mainly attracting these workers from other parts of Louisiana, where high-paying jobs are less plentiful. New Orleans, says UL-Lafayette economist Gary Wagner, is especially ripe for the picking. I guess it’s good news that Wagner says Lafayette is also getting many workers from Texas.
Where We Stand
A few new studies are stating where Louisiana ranks among the 50 states in this or that aspect of life. Let’s see where we stand.
An organization called Safe Home is reporting that Louisiana ranks No. 46 when it comes to taking action about robocalls.
Safe Home’s idea of taking action against robocalls is registering on the Do Not Call list. And, according to the organization, even though the state is ranked 46, more than 93 percent of people in Louisiana who can register for the Do Not Call list have done so.
However, all the news reports tell us the problem with the current breed of robocalls is that they aren’t stopped by registration on the Do Not Call list. So, I’m not sure what these numbers mean or whether they mean anything.
Louisiana is No. 43 when it comes to complaining to the FCC about Robocalls. Maybe we’re just more accepting of robocalls than some other places (although I’ll admit I’ve heard a powerful amount of complaining about them around here).
Safe Home says that 70 percent of all complaints filed with the FCC in 2019 were about robocalls.
Our next ranking comes from Psy D Programs, which states that Louisiana is the No. 20 state for mental health workers. That definitely puts us in the top half. But again, I’m not sure how valuable it is to know that, since the rankings seem to be based mainly on housing costs. Louisiana is No. 20 in annual housing costs at $12,000 and No. 22 in income taken by housing at 18.7 percent. That’s quite a bit better than I would have thought we would do.
Finishing No. 1 in the survey is our old rival, West Virginia.
The study states that “as the stigma surrounding mental health continues to lessen, more Americans than ever are embracing therapy and other tools for coping with emotional problems. As a result, the job outlook for mental health workers is among the brightest in the country.” That might be good news for some McNeese or Sowela graduates who are still looking for a career path.
One last statistic comes from the Advocate. According to that prestigious publication, there are 6,000 people in Louisiana prisons who have sentences of either life or 50 years or more. The Advocate says that this is larger than the number of all such prisoners in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee combined. So, if you want Louisiana to be a tough-on-crime state, you can rest easy. You have what you want.
What do all these numbers tell us? I guess they tell us that things could be worse. Unless you happen to be a long-term prisoner. In that case, it may be that things could not be worse.
If you’re reading this magazine at a time when the Natchitoches parade has already taken place, you still have plenty of time to seek alternative diversion out of town. For instance, you could go to a Holi Festival.
A Holi Festival is a Hindu festival at which participants get painted. That doesn’t mean someone paints their portrait on a canvas. It means that people smear or throw paint on them. Paint can also be applied by means of water guns or water balloons. The celebration is often called the Festival of Colors.
The Holi Festival is taking place March 28 in Lafayette’s Girard Park. It should include strolling musicians and Holi foods and drinks.
Holi Festival organizers suggest following these tips to max out your festival experience:
Wear white; it provides the best canvas for the colors.
Wear clothes you don’t mind parting with. They may get stained.
It is suggested that children wear swimwear as they will likely be interacting with water.
Bring towels and something you can quickly change into.
Just in case, have your allergy medication on hand.
Bring sanitary hand or face wipes to clean up after the event.
Eye protection, such as sunglasses, is highly recommended, especially if you wear contacts. Bring spare contacts and eye drops.
Use hair protection, such as bandanas, shower caps, hats and so forth.
Cover your car seats to protect them after the event.
If you are using a camera, protect its lens from colors.
Dust all the dry color off your hair and body before you get in the shower. Some colors stain when wet. Bring picnic chairs if you like.