A new business model will open in SWLA just in time for Valentine’s Day. Break the Psycle is a smash room or “rage room,” in which you can pay money to smash items such as glass bottles, wooden furniture and electronics. The concept, according to owner Lydia Fontenot, is to “break household items in a controlled setting.” She cites Hurricane Laura as her motivation to open the business.
Fontenot claims 75 percent of her home was damaged as a result of the hurricane and she “found relief with taking a sledgehammer to my waterlogged kitchen.” Talk therapy has never been her thing.
She also says, “Break the Psycle is in place to let victims of violent crimes, veterans, juveniles, first responders, and anyone affected by stress and trauma break items in a controlled setting for a temporary relief. It is to help find new ways for individuals/juveniles to cope with everyday stresses/trauma and find ways to function. Break the Psycle’s main goal is to bring awareness, break the stigma, and break the cycle.”
While I admire Fontenot’s mission, I’m not sure breaking items for relief would rank very high in any doctor and counselor’s office. It’s especially something you wouldn’t want juveniles to internalize, lest they turn into adults who throw dishes at their partners when they are mad.
In special cases, smashing things could apply as a therapy, but the novelty of a smash room will probably appeal to the community mostly as a fun thing to do on a Friday night, an excuse for “bad” behavior, if you will — a way to break the rules without breaking the rules.
As Break the Psycle opens on Valentine’s Day (by appointment only), I’m sure customers will show up to do something different on a date night, such as pretend they are a fixer upper couple. The smash room could be very useful indeed if you find out your significant other is cheating on you or if they break up with you on the holiday of love. The initial anger you feel can be quenched by booking a session.
If you are frustrated, you could also purchase a punching bag, scream into your pillow or take a run around the block. But if you really feel the need to take a bat to something, you can visit Break the Psycle at 1619 Sampson St., Suite B, in Westlake. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 9:30 pm and Friday through Saturday from 1 to 10 pm.
However, if you are really struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, and/or extreme anger, don’t be afraid to seek out professional help from a doctor and/or a licensed counselor.
LSU Alumna’s Novel Becomes NYT Bestseller
Ana Reyes’ debut novel, “The House in the Pines,” was released on Jan. 3 and sales went off with a bang. Part of this instant success has to do with the fact that Reese Witherspoon picked the novel as her book club’s read of the month. The novel even has a Reese’s Book Club marker on the front cover.
The novel has since become a New York Times bestseller. It also reached as high as No. 11 on Amazon’s chart of most sold books for the week of Jan. 8. When I checked the novel on Amazon on Jan. 18, the book was still on the list at No. 17, with a whopping 1,208 ratings already.
Reyes obtained an MFA from LSU and submitted a previous form of the novel as her MFA thesis. Says Reyes, “That first draft was very different. After I graduated, I reworked it. I spent a long time getting it into shape. Then, I found an agent who was very generous with her time. She basically said, ‘I think, you need to rewrite it just one more time.’ So, that daunted me a little bit, but over the course of two years, I eventually got back to it.”
Reyes’ love of writing began in childhood when she wrote a story about a house in the woods of Pittsfield, Mass. “The House in the Pines” includes that same creepy house Reyes dreamed up when she was 11.
Fellow author Riley Sager calls “The House in the Pines” “a compelling mix of psychological thriller and dark fairy tale. By focusing not on whodunnit but how and why, Ana Reyes’ stellar debut explores the many ways our memories can fail us — and how they can set us free.”
Witherspoon gives a short summary of the novel saying, “this is an absolute, can’t-put-it-down thriller that follows Maya, who’s trying to prove once and for all that her best friend was murdered years ago by her then-boyfriend, Frank. As Maya digs further into Frank’s past and present, she finds a string of similar mysterious deaths.”
Reyes is definitely in the right lane for success as psychological thrillers and true crime continue to be a national obsession. You can find “The House in the Pines” wherever books are sold.
‘Yellowstone’ Chef Has Cajun Roots
Gabriel Guilbeau, known almost exclusively as “Gator,” became a chef on the popular Paramount show “Yellowstone” after cooking for movie sets in New Orleans and becoming a traveling movie set chef. Guilbeau was born in California but connects with Louisiana more. He moved here at age 18.
Guilbeau’s dad was born into a Cajun family in Acadiana. And Guilbeau spent summers in Louisiana, beginning at the age of 8. He experienced crawfish boils and cochon de laits. He and his father cooked local delicacies — shrimp, crab and oysters, and made cracklins and boudin. Guilbeau cites these times as “the beginning of my education in cuisine.”
Lafayette was the first Louisiana city Guilbeau lived in, but he found his true passion when cooking on a movie set in Baton Rouge.
When he was starting out, Guilbeau made food for productions that didn’t have a large food budget. A popular dish he created for these projects was chicken and sausage gumbo.
Taylor Sheridan, the co-creator of “Yellowstone,” heard about Guilbeau through mutual acquaintances and gave him a call and a job offer one night. Guilbeau hit the road the next day to join the set in Utah.
After arriving and working for a few hours, Guilbeau learned the film crew was about to change locations. He followed the crew to Montana, a place known for harsh weather conditions. Guilbeau said, “I’ve had to cook on the side of a mountain, and bring food even higher up” but that he “wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The 300 mouths Guilbeau was feeding for “Yellowstone” increased to 600 with the filming of the prequel, “1883.” And Guilbeau even got an acting gig under his belt after Sheridan told him he would be filmed as the family chef for the Dutton family in the show. I bet you never knew there was a Louisiana Gator featured in the hit show.
If you are interested in seeing the Louisiana chef, “Yellowstone” is available for streaming on Peacock, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube TV and several other platforms.
The Cajun Ninja
Jason Derouen is the cook and content creator The Cajun Ninja. If you’ve never heard of The Cajun Ninja, he has 1.2 million followers on Facebook and 179,000 subscribers on YouTube. Derouen is from Houma and got his start when he uploaded a cooking video to YouTube in 2016.
Staple Cajun dishes are the core of Derouen’s fame. He uses creative edits to showcase his humor, catchphrases, Cajun accent and some really good food. And there’s even unexpected twists on his recipes.
Ragin’ Cajun and LSU merch is often seen in his videos, cementing Derouen as a Louisiana native, resident and fan. His catchphrase, PI-YAHHHHH is heard numerous times throughout the videos and hints at both his Tae-Kwon-Do background (he’s a third degree blackbelt) and a slant word for fire or the heat which Cajun cooking is nothing without.
Now, if you are on a low sodium diet, I would proceed with caution when following Derouen’s recipes. They do not skimp on saltiness and neither does he. I also don’t recommend watching The Cajun Ninja videos on an empty stomach. Even on a full stomach, watching these food videos might have you running to your car to go find the nearest Cajun restaurant. You might even grab some PI-YAHHHHH seasoning at Rouses.
Derouen has also released a cookbook, which is currently sold out. It is titled “PI-YAHHHHH!! The Cajun Ninja’s Cookbook.” When it’s back in stock, you can order it at cajunninjabook.com. There are recipes for everything from Shrimp Creole to King cakes.
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