Program aims to bring fresh, seasonal produce into Louisiana schools

Growing interest in making fresher, more healthful food available in Louisiana communities has led the LSU AgCenter to implement the Louisiana Harvest of the Month pilot program in some Louisiana schools.

Dufrocq Elementary School in Baton Rouge, Andrew H. Wilson Charter School in New Orleans and North Bayou Rapides Elementary School in Alexandria will participate in the program.

Program director for Harvest of the Month Ann Savage said Harvest of the Month is designed to deliver fresh-from-the-farm specialty-crop fruits and vegetables one day each month to each school.

The program is being developed this fall and will be implemented starting in Jan. 2015 by the LSU AgCenter in partnership with The Louisiana Farm to School Network, Fresh Beginnings, Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, Slow Food Baton Rouge and other community partners.

The program is funded through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant Fund coordinated by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

Savage said currently, childhood obesity is at its highest rate and in Louisiana, 40 percent of youth are overweight or obese.

Savage said, “Innovative programs like Harvest of the Month aim to connect kids with food and where it comes from. There is no question that the areas where children live, learn and play can have a real impact on their eating habits.”

The program will promote Louisiana’s horticultural diversity and long growing season by highlighting a different, in-season, local fruit or vegetable each month.

Savage said, “We are excited to have the opportunity to pilot the Louisiana Harvest of the Month Program so that we can use this program to create a model for the purchase of local produce and serving it in schools.  By starting on a small scale we hope to develop protocols and recommendations for schools statewide and demonstrate it is possible and adaptable to schools around our Louisiana.”

Savage added in 2012, the National School Lunch Program served 92 million lunches to Louisiana students. If we could buy just a fraction of this food locally, it could be a huge boost for the local economy.

Throughout the year this program will extend from the classroom to the cafeteria to the home and community, promoting healthier habits and futures for Louisiana students.

The pilot program will affect nearly 2,000 students and their families during its first year, Savage said. It will allow students to learn about the various nutritional benefits, history, fun facts and botanical and growing information of fruits and vegetables through educational materials for all involved.

Director of the Prevention Research Center at Tulane University Carolyn Johnson said, “Given that children spend the majority of their day at school, school meals and snacks have a significant impact on youth’s diets. The Louisiana Harvest of the Month statewide program for fruits and vegetables will allow the LSU AgCenter to promote fruit and vegetable consumption and educate youth about the origin of food.”

Louisiana state lead for the National Farm to School Network Katie Mularz said, “The program is a win for everyone – kids win because they are gaining access to nutritious, high-quality, local food while learning the origin of their food; farmers win because they are gaining access to a new institutional market; communities win by reducing carbon footprints of food transportation while stimulating the local economy with local purchases.”

According to Savage a successful farm to school program has three components,  local and regional procurement, education and gardening.

Savage said, “The Harvest of the Month program will work in its pilot stage to target the first two components in a way that provides a sustainable model for continued support when funding ends. We hope in the future we can target the third component of gardening while also taking the model we have created and providing the program to more schools throughout the state.”


Program aims to bring fresh, seasonal produce into Louisiana schools –

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You Probably Never Thought About Food This Way Before

Here’s some food for thought…

Food is pretty great when you think about it. (Although, you probably shouldn’t think about it non-stop like I do.) Luckily, the Internet has been thinking of food since its inception and has you covered. Here are some hilarious and surprisingly philosophical thoughts about food from around the Internet.

How did I never think of any of these?


1.) If you were illiterate, alphabet soup would just be noodles.

2.) Technically, it’s impossible to skip breakfast since the first time you eat during a day is when you ‘break your fast.’

3.) Smoothies are just cold fruit soup.


4.) Chocolate is a type of milk, but milk is also a type of chocolate.


5.) When you cut up your food before you eat it, it’s like your mouth is outsourcing the work of chewing to your hands.


6.) If a 99 pound girl eats 1 pound of nachos, she is 1% nacho.


7.) If I touch my phone in the right places a pizza will show up at my front door.


8.) Beef jerky is like a meat raisin.


9.) If you turn a taco sideways it’s just a sandwich.


10.) Soup is just food flavored tea.


11.) When you toast bread, you get toast. But when you toast french bread, you don’t get french toast.


12.) Rice is great when you’re hungry and you want 2,000 of something.


13.) Everything is or isn’t ice cream.


14.) A lot of people probably died before we figured out which foods we can and cannot eat.

15.) A spoon is a small bowl on a stick used to eat from a larger bowl.


16.) Menus should include prep times so you can order based on how much time you have to eat.


17.) Fettuccini alfredo is macaroni and cheese for adults.


18.) We eat pizza from the inside out.


19.) Toasters are like tanning beds for bread.


20.) When you go food shopping you’re buying supplies for this week’s poops.


21.) Everything we eat is processed sunshine.


Pretty incredible, right? Most of my thoughts about food pretty much just come down to “can I have more of it?” so this was a welcome change. Maybe in addition to praying at the dinner table we should read some of these quotes from these brave food philosophers.


You Probably Never Thought About Food This Way Before..

via You Probably Never Thought About Food This Way Before.


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Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.


You Probably Never Thought About Food This Way Before | Arlen Benny Cenac – In My Kitchen.

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Louisiana Loses Its Boot

A must read article on the coastal erosion crisis in Louisiana and how it has changed the state’s shape as we know it.

The boot-shaped state isn’t shaped like a boot anymore. That’s why we revised its iconic outline to reflect the truth about a sinking, disappearing place.


Early this year, I drove from Arnaudville, Louisiana, to Morgan City, hoping to walk where I’d heard there was land.

Arnaudville is in Cajun country, in the southern part of the state. Morgan City is roughly halfway between Lafayette and New Orleans, if you take the Highway 90 route. Directionally speaking, that’s all I knew.

I was aware Arnaudville is just outside Lafayette, but I couldn’t have told you in what direction, even though I’d been there several times before. Compulsive use of my smart phone’s map apps has eroded whatever navigational confidence — and, by extension, awareness — I ever possessed of areas outside New Orleans, where I’ve lived for over a dozen years. And this part of Cajun country can be disorienting. Boats traverse rice fields flooded in winter for crawfish production, and the slow-running bayous look innocuous until you get trapped on the wrong side of one. In Arnaudville, I met a tourist from Arkansas who, upon entering the tasting room at Bayou Teche Brewing, announced, “We tried to Google this place and ended up in a muddy swamp by the levee over there.”

I was gearing up to feel a variation on that pain myself as I made my way from Arnaudville to Morgan City. It was the first in a planned season of road trips during which I’d compare the facts on the ground in coastal Louisiana with the facts as presented by the official state maps produced by government agencies. Paper maps.

Remember those? They’re obnoxious to fold, and their search functions leave much to be desired, but it wasn’t that long ago that paper maps were universally accepted as the killer apps they are. Up until the mid aughts, when online mapping services like Google Maps and MapQuest started to find their way onto GPS-enabled mobile phones, paper maps were our go-to tools for navigating unfamiliar terrain on our own. These non-digital guides enjoyed a good run. A Babylonian tablet map of the Mesopotamian world at the British Museum dates to between 700 and 500 BC.

My plan to purchase one of these analog tools to chart my course quickly proved quixotic. I got directions to Myran’s Maison de Manger, a boiled crawfish house at the intersection of two bayous, and from there down Highway 31 to Breaux Bridge, where I planned to stop at Poche’s, a Cajun butcher and diner, to eat some pork backbone stew; neither sold maps. A Breaux Bridge Shell station sold everything from Krispy Krunchy Cajun Recipe Chicken to faux taxidermy albino tiger heads, but no maps. Neither did the Mobil I stopped at in New Iberia. By the time I got to the Patterson Truck Stop and Casino in Patterson (cell phone accessories and broccoli cheese bacon bites but, again, no maps) I had nearly arrived in Morgan City.

The GPS and digital mapping tools built into smart phones and car dashboards have reduced demand for proper paper highway maps to the point of near extinction. The United States Geological Survey, once one of the country’s main mapmakers, has essentially abandoned the map printing business. (Its website still allows people to print copies of digital maps on demand.) And while the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development historically created new state maps with fresh data roughly once a decade, its last map, now 14 years old, is in no threat of being updated. There are still copies left over from their last printing, according to John Snead, cartographic manager at the Louisiana Geographic Survey, which created the map.

Official Map, 2000 (Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development)

Digital maps have expanded our freedoms to roam, removing much of the fear and hassle inherent in exploring unfamiliar terrain by exponentially decreasing the chances we will become hopelessly lost. But smart phone screens are programmed to spit out the granular information we need to get from point A to B. We don’t look to them to give us the large-scale views of border, land, and water of accurate paper maps. And so it’s becoming harder and harder to communicate the most urgent crisis facing Louisiana.

According to the U.S.G.S., the state lost just under 1,900 square miles of land between 1932 and 2000. This is the rough equivalent of the entire state of Delaware dropping into the Gulf of Mexico, and the disappearing act has no closing date. If nothing is done to stop the hemorrhaging, the state predicts as much as another 1,750 square miles of land — an area larger than Rhode Island — will convert to water by 2064. An area approximately the size of a football field continues to slip away every hour. “We’re sinking faster than any coast on the planet,” explains Bob Marshall, a Pulitzer-winning journalist in New Orleans. Marshall authored the series “Losing Ground,” a recent collaboration between The Lens, a non-profit newsroom, and ProPublica, about the Louisiana coast’s epic demise.

While the kind of state map that might have been useful for navigation or perspective was elusive on the road to Morgan City, the image such maps project — the iconic “boot” shape everyone recognizes as Louisiana — was impossible to escape. The map’s outline was ubiquitous on my drive: on bumper stickers (with the boot standing in for the “L” in “Love”), engulfing T-shirt fronts (my favorite emblazoned with “I drove the Chevy to the levee but the levee was gone”), and glowing on Louisiana-shaped neon beer signs in barroom windows.

But the boot is at best an inaccurate approximation of Louisiana’s true shape and, at worst, an irresponsible lie. It has to be.

My preoccupation with Louisiana’s boot dates to the morning in September 2005 when I followed smoke to a ruinous house fire just off Magazine Street in New Orleans’s Uptown neighborhood. I ran into my friend and colleague Jeff Duncan at the scene. We both commented on the irony of fire making news in a city still filled with water from the levee breaches triggered by Hurricane Katrina, which had made landfall a week prior.

Jeff and I are both non-natives who moved here around 2000 to work at The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans newspaper. Jeff had already been in the city for several days; most of the reporters who’d stayed through the storm, and witnessed the early horrors of Katrina, had taken a much deserved break that day or were filing other stories, essentially leaving us as an ad-hoc bureau of two.

We went from the fire to a press conference being held by then mayor Ray Nagin. Jeff took that story. I wrote something about local cops committing suicide. A few days later Jeff and I worked together again, interviewing victims as they emerged from the floodwaters onto the elevated highway that runs through downtown New Orleans. Jeff still ribs me for tripping over the same discarded corpse twice.

We knew as much about crisis reporting then as we did about maps when Jeff started asking questions about Louisiana’s suspiciously unchanged boot over dinner a few years later. Jeff is a sports columnist. I’m a restaurant critic. But Katrina and its aftermath enveloped our lives, personally and professionally, and that continued to be the case even after we returned to our regular beats. Jeff and I, like many of our colleagues, became defacto authorities on the disaster that dominated local news until 2010, when the BP oil spill kicked Katrina to the back seat. People who lived through Katrina wanted to compare notes. People who didn’t wanted to know what happened. People who didn’t ask what happened got an earful anyway.

This is what everyone heard: The disaster was manmade. A hurricane is the hand of a higher power, but the flood control structures that failed and caused so much death and destruction did so because human beings screwed up. Levees are expected to hold, just as bridges, skyscrapers, and subway tunnels are expected not to collapse. It took Katrina — and the destruction caused by her less publicized but also ruinous sister, Hurricane Rita—for flood protection to enter mainstream cocktail and dinner conversation, shedding harsher light on the incontrovertible fact that the system built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers was an accessory to its own malfunction.

The shape of Louisiana — to say nothing of the course of U.S. history — would be much different if not for the human efforts to hold the Mississippi River in place. The deltas comprising Southeast Louisiana sit at the bottom of the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The alluvial land mass had been forever subject to the shifting course of the Mississippi, whose sediment deposits created the land where Native Americans and, later, European settlers built communities in the fertile, strategically crucial areas near its mouth. “Southern Louisiana exists in its present form because the Mississippi River has jumped here and there within an arc about two hundred miles wide, like a pianist playing with one hand,” is how John McPhee put it in a 1987 New Yorker article. Had the river not ranged so widely, southern Louisiana would, McPhee wrote, “be a long narrow peninsula reaching into the Gulf of Mexico.”

The corps allowed civilization to flourish along the banks of the world’s fourth-longest river and the country’s major commercial artery. But the levees and dikes erected to protect people and property from the Upper Midwest through the Deep South to the Gulf of Mexico have had the effect of starving Louisiana’s coast, depriving it of the replenishing soils the river once deposited in the form of sediment during floods. The land is sinking, as the weight of a massive layer of mud compresses against the deep bedrock without any new sediment layers to maintain elevation and nourish the flora and fauna.

Louisiana’s wetlands act as a buffer protecting the southern part of the state against hurricanes and tropical storms. This is a vitally important feature not just to Louisianans, a third of whom reside in the state’s coastal parishes. The state is one of the U.S.’s top producers of energy and seafood, and its ports facilitate 20 percent of the country’s waterborne commerce. These natural resources are dependent on Louisiana’s fertile wetlands and the billions of dollars in infrastructure necessary to access it — the great majority of which is clinging to the state’s eroding coastline. D. Phil Turnipseed, the director of the U.S.G.S. National Wetlands Research Center, calls Louisiana’s shrinkage “the worst environmental and socioeconomic disaster in North America.” He adds: “I would dare say it’s the worst thing in the hemisphere if not for what they’re doing in the Amazon jungle.”

In the aftermath of Katrina and Rita, the legislature created the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (C.P.R.A.) to oversee Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. The plan’s $50 billion budget is projected over 50 years, and nearly every politician, governmental agency, academic, and business invested in Louisiana’s coast turns to land loss maps to provide a concise rationalization for such an expenditure. This one, created by Snead’s team at the Louisiana Geological Survey, was completed in 2007, around the time Jeff started going off about the map one night over dinner.

Orange areas represent land lost, 1937–2000 (Louisiana Geological Survey)

In the face of so much shocking and widely available imagery, why does the boot look same as it did in the 1930s? That was why Jeff and I started devising an expose—this expose—about the boot. In our imagining, the idea spread beyond the confines of journalism, sparking a movement united around the cause of revising the boot in the spirit of advocacy and accuracy. Supporters would mobilize armed with t-shirts, stickers, and posters, all printed with the image of an alternative boot. More wine brought talk of a website and a conference launched under some incendiary title. (The Map is a Lie! Change the Map Now!) Politicians across the ideological spectrum would find common ground on the issue, because one thing environmentalists and global warming deniers can agree on is the basic fact that Louisiana is shrinking. The rest of the country would take notice, forging national agreement on the Master Plan and its funding as the most effective means for averting economic catastrophe. And then Jeff and I wouldn’t have to worry about tripping over more corpses, or being forced to move someplace with inferior cuisine.

South Louisiana has always vexed cartographers. Lawrence N. Powell’s book The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans is front-loaded with tales of early explorers being led astray by maps that were imprecise at best. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers relied on charts that showed the Mississippi “emptying into the Bay of Espíritu Santo, in present-day Texas.” When Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, the Canadian who helped colonize Louisiana for France, arrived in the late 1600s, in search of the river’s mouth, he “carried with him a fraudulent map prepared by a disgraced Récollet missionary. It depicted a mythical east fork of the Mississippi.”

“Louisiana has perhaps the most complex coastline of any state in the union. It’s not just a coastline but a coastal zone that has many inland lakes that are part of coastal change,” said Snead. “Any map you make of the Louisiana coast is obsolete the day you make it. It’s an exercise in futility.”

Snead was the first person I called in my pursuit of the truth about the boot. He neither agreed nor disagreed with my theory that it’s a disingenuous artifact. Cartography, as Snead explains it, requires navigating tensions between precision and compromise. The 2000 map, he explained, is “‘official’ because there is an act of the legislature that says the Department of Transportation will produce an official map of Louisiana. And you should be aware that the legislature is full of politicians.” Elected officials, according to Snead, are not so concerned with the map depicting an accurate coast as they are with the visibility of the public works projects, like highways and canals, that signify their accomplishments. Complicating matters is the sheer expense of collecting the fresh data necessary to render a land-water interface perpetually on the move. As a consequence, the Louisiana map holds “a very generalized coastline,” according to Snead, that “is hard to draw even under ideal conditions. You have to have a very large scale to render it.”

Harold Fisk’s maps of the lower Mississippi River valley (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Viewed from a distance, the shape of Louisiana on Snead’s 2000 map isn’t noticeably different from the boot. But its larger scale allows for the wetlands along the coast, particularly in the southeastern part of the state, to convey some of the porousness that is so obvious when you actually see them in real life. On the boot, those same feeble swamps and marsh appear as invulnerable as Iowa farmland.

The 2000 map was the first Louisiana map ever created entirely digitally using Geographic Information System (GIS) software, which enables the storage, management, and manipulation of massive quantities of geographic and scientific data. GIS technology is behind the spread of the web-based mapping tools that have disrupted the paper cartography trade in a manner similar to how the internet disrupted every other business tied to the printing press.

James Mitchell, the GIS manager at the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, is a former professor in environmental studies at Louisiana State University with the confident air of a person in possession of truths you may not be able to handle. His embrace of GIS technology is tempered by a frustration over what he sees as the public’s tendency to see digital maps as windows to the material world. “No one questions these things,” Mitchell told me when I met him at D.O.T.D.’s state headquarters in Baton Rouge. “A map is a model. It’s an abstraction of reality. So by making a model of reality, we can’t depict anything exactly.”

He pulled up a PowerPoint to help illustrate what he calls “Mitchell’s first rule of GIS: Everything you know is wrong,” which basically boils down to the idea that GIS technology is only as good as the data you feed into it. His experience updating maps with digital tools has exposed how inconsistent existing maps already were. “The topographic layer might have been done in 1956, and the land cover layer was done in 1962, and the transportation came from 1945,” Mitchell said of his findings. “And those are some of the good ones.”

Mitchell said the aerial photography and satellite laser data that lend GIS maps their lifelike immediacy pose problems of their own, particularly in Southeast Louisiana. He pulled up an aerial image of Pass Manchac, the channel between lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas. On both the image and the Louisiana state map, the area appears to be forest. Anyone who has visited the flood-prone town of Manchac, about a 45-minute drive northwest of New Orleans, knows it is surrounded by wetlands. “People see the vegetation and the trees and think it’s land,” Mitchell said.

Setting aside the disorienting business of mapping swamps, Kurt Johnson, a former U.S.G.S. hydrologist and Mitchell’s colleague, pointed out that Southeast Louisiana’s dizzying interface of coastal tides, river currents, and sinking land can make what appear to be distributaries flow like tributaries, and visa versa. The hydrology is so atypical that he and Mitchell believe USGS should establish new protocols for collecting the dataset it uses to portray surface water on maps.

In March, I boarded a seaplane that took off from a canal in Belle Chasse, a suburb across the river from New Orleans, for a bird’s-eye tour of Louisiana’s imperiled coastline. The vulnerability is unmistakable from the air.

Our flight path took us south and then west, away from Lake Pontchartrain and across the Mississippi River, which winds east through the city before angling sharply downward en route to the mouth. New Orleans is nestled between the river and the lake. On a map it appears as if the city sits comfortably inland from the ocean. In reality, Lake Borgne, which land loss has allowed the gulf to annex, is knocking at New Orleans’s door from the east. Much of the “land” separating the city from the ocean to the south isn’t really land. It’s deltaic swamp and marsh that satellite images — a crucial source of mapping data — cause to appear indistinguishable from inland soil when reduced to the low-resolution shorthand that is Louisiana’s boot. But wetlands are not terra firma. Communities like Delacroix, an island in the wetland wilds below New Orleans, looks from the air to reside on the tips of reeds. It persists mainly due to the obstinance of its inhabitants.

By the time we reached Grand Isle and nearby Port Fourchon, south of Galliano, both just west of the bird’s-foot delta, our flight had provided us a sizable visual sample of arguably the world’s least stable coastline. At one point, as our pilot was preparing to announce our arrival at tiny Caillou Island, only to discover it under water, he said, “There’s supposed to be land here. There was a couple weeks ago.”

Comparable examples of incidental tragicomedy occur whenever I commune with Louisiana’s coastal estuary. I’ve never set foot on a boat in Louisiana without hearing my captain offer a running commentary on the landmarks — cypress trees, barrier islands, fishing camps — that have recently disappeared, casualties of the encroaching gulf.

“How do you represent a place where there is no edge?” asked Jeff Carney, director of L.S.U.’s Coastal Sustainability Studio. A wall of his studio on the university’s Baton Rouge campus contained various map-like representations of what he calls South Louisiana’s indeterminate landscape. As Carney put it, “We don’t have a shoreline. We’re not Florida. It’s not like you’re on solid ground and then you step into water.” That “unclear edge,” Carney said, “creates problems with land ownership, insurance, all of these things. We don’t deal with ambiguity very well.”

Carney, in partnership with the state, is trying to capture this fluidity with data visualization tools that communicate the progress of the Master Plan’s sundry land building projects. Because many of these projects will employ Mississippi River diversions to create land over time with sediment-filled water — in essence flooding land and wetlands you’re endeavoring to protect — detractors fear the Plan could cause more harm than good. Members of Louisiana’s seafood industry are particularly vocal opponents, because the fresh water from diversions kills oyster beds and chases other prey offshore.

Carney, a professor with degrees in architecture and regional and city planning, nimbly mingles left- and right-brain concepts. He said one of the goals for his maps will be to help “develop a language that doesn’t undermine confidence but actually allows people to better understand the environment we live in.” Thinking out loud, he began drawing a series of curving lines on a piece of scratch paper. Carney’s sketches brought to mind the famous maps Harold Fisk created in the 1940s that visualized the various paths taken by the Mississippi River before it was artificially fixed in place (that’s them running alongside this section). The maps look as much like posters in an art museum’s gift shop as pages from an atlas. They also effectively communicate the scale of a never-ending engineering conundrum whose complexities continue to fill shelves of doorstop-size books.

Carney was imagining how wetlands could be depicted “as neither land nor water” on future maps, encouraging people to recognize them for what they are. “Louisiana has an inferiority complex about its wetlands. We don’t understand them, so we dump everything into them. We tear them apart,” Carney explained. “But what if we had a way of drawing future maps that said, basically, all that fluffy green stuff is actually protecting everybody and building our economy?”

The political drama in Louisiana over the past year has revolved around the disappearing coast, the oil and gas industry’s role in contributing to it, and a lawsuit that seeks billions of dollars from the energy companies for the damage they’ve caused the environment.

Louisiana is both the country’s second-biggest crude oil producer and refiner and the largest entry point for crude oil coming into the U.S. (It is also near the top in the nation in total and per capita energy consumption, a reminder that producing energy requires a lot of fuel.) Oil and gas removal exacerbates subsidence of land, and the canals the companies have dug through the marsh disrupt the delicate balance of salt and freshwater in wetlands, killing plant and wildlife and causing erosion on the interior swamp and marsh already threatened on the outside by global sea level rise.

“It’s crystal clear, according to every single scientific study, including studies done by the [oil and gas] industry itself, that industry activities are responsible for a substantial part of the land loss,” said John M. Barry, the best-selling author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America and former vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPA-E), the government body charged with overseeing the flood protection system covering most of metro New Orleans.

John M. Barry in New Orleans

Last year, the authority filed a historic lawsuit against more than 90 oil, gas, and pipeline companies, demanding that “the catastrophic effects of the oil and gas industry’s canal dredging be abated and reversed and the damage to the coastal landscape be undone” and seeking what could be billions of dollars in damages. Barry told me, “State law requires them to restore areas. So do the Corps of Engineers’ permits. And they simply haven’t done it.”

But Louisiana’s reputation for political chicanery is inseparable from its entanglement with Big Oil. If the state’s modern elected officials are less flamboyantly corrupt than the despotic Huey Long, who built a national power base in the early 20th century opposing Standard Oil, their positions on laws affecting the energy industry are still often gaudily compromised.

Instead of leaving it for the courts to decide the suit, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and other oil industry-friendly lawmakers have done everything they can to kill it (and, by extension, emasculate the SLFPA-E). Jindal has accused the board of overstepping its authority, dismissed the suit as “nothing but a windfall for a handful of trial lawyers,” and effectively removed Barry from his SLFPA-E position for supporting the suit. State lawmakers passed a bill that retroactively nullified the authority’s right to sue. Now that Jindal has signed it into law, the suit could end up in federal court instead.

Both sides of the suit claim the state’s ability to fund the $50-billion Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast is at stake. While that plan was unanimously approved by the legislature in 2012, its funding is not certain, and many of its projects remain controversial, particularly sediment diversions. Fishers, for instance, fear the displacement of seafood populations, and coastal landowners aren’t amused by the idea of seeing their properties flooded.

(Regardless of what happens to the suit, the fight over energy company liabilities is far from over. Last week, United States District Court Judge Carl J. Barbier found BP grossly negligent in the oil spill disaster. As a result, the company could pay up to $18 billion in penalties atop the $3.5 billion in settlement money it has already paid.)

The mark the oil and gas industry has left on the wetlands was clearly visible out the window of my low-flying seaplane that day in March; the view en route from New Orleans to south Lafourche was of a vast, green-brown maze, the result of the over 9,000 miles of navigation and pipeline canals energy companies dredged in the state’s coastal marsh starting around the turn of the last century. There are also more than 54,000 oil wells in Southern Louisiana’s wetlands and in its coastal waters, and the well-heads and supply boats appeared in increasing density as we approached Grand Isle and Port Fourchon, as did shrimp boats, whose long horizontal trawl nets give them the cast of graceful water spiders.

That’s the other complicating factor here: Around Fourchon, where commercial fishers routinely supplement their incomes working for the oil companies, there is no perceived disconnect between environmental advocacy and support for Big Oil. The fishers I got to know during the 2010 BP drama, all of whom were adversely affected by the disaster, uniformly dismissed the deepwater drilling moratorium on the Outer Continental Shelf following the spill as little more than hypocritical liberal posturing that ultimately hurt working Americans. In the summer of 2010, Nick Collins, a third-generation oysterman, asked me sarcastically over oyster spaghetti in his father’s Golden Meadow kitchen, “Do those people in California ride horses to work?”

In fact, in Southeast Louisiana, the theory you often hear is that the best way to keep sinking land from disappearing is to make it economically indispensable.

While politicians, lawyers, scientists and engineers fight over the future of the state, people like Jonathan Foret are trying to give shape right now to the emotional toll exacted by Louisiana’s massive wound. Foret spends his days educating young people about our disappearing coast as executive director of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center.

“I was telling the kids, ‘Let’s go plant marsh grass because this is going to help.’ And then the kids go back three years later and all of that is washed away,” Foret told me. “They say, ‘Mr. Jonathan, that was supposed to help!”

I met Foret one morning in May at his house in Houma, an industrial town in Terrebonne Parish, near the frayed toes in the southeast of Louisiana’s boot. The combined unemployment rates in Houma and Thibodeaux, 50 miles to the north, are consistently below national averages, thanks in no small part to jobs in the energy and water transport industries. But while the two-story house Foret purchased on a corner lot near where Bayou Terrebonne intersects with the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, framed by the sprawling branches of a mature oak tree, could swallow his former New York City apartment many times over, Houma does not exude the optimism of a boomtown.

Price Billiot, 67, aboard a shrimping trawler in Pointe-aux-Chenes; siblings Dakirah, Deyonte, and Dasayah Simmons in Isle de Jean Charles. The neighboring communities, both located on vulnerable, eroding coastal land southeast of Houma, are home to many Native Americans. The United States Army Corps of Engineers determined it wasn’t cost effective to build flood protection around Jean Charles, which is, of course, sinking.

When you come across construction in south Terrebonne, it is invariably related to the sinking coast, and what modern architecture there is appears frozen in the 1970s or ’80s. An exhibit of work by the artist Brooks Frederick, a Houma native living in New York, was on display in a gallery behind Anelas Wellness & Yoga Lounge on Main Street. One picture was a portrait of Tony Hayward, the locally despised former CEO of BP, painted in “ink” made from the tar balls that have been washing ashore ever since the 2010 oil spill. A watercolor depicted a man on the verge of ejaculating into Louisiana’s boot, presumably against the boot’s wishes. The painting is entitled No Means No.

Brooks Frederick, “No Means No” (courtesy of the artist)

Both Frederick’s art and Foret’s teaching are powerful examples of citizens behaving as if Louisiana’s point of no return has already arrived. Their work suggests the only way to reverse course is to bring others to their desperate point of view, through shocking visual representation and more.

In a class Foret teaches to local high school students, he asks kids to study coastal restoration projects to identify which ones are the most cost-effective. “Then we throw in, ‘Here’s a senator who needs to be re-elected, and here’s an engineering firm that gives a lot to his campaign,” Foret explained. “Now let’s vote on which project will get through.”

Foret also introduced me to Sandra Maina, until recently an environmental science graduate student at Florida International University who has been spearheading the development of Vanishing Points, a tool that locates local landmarks threatened by coastal land loss with pins on a digital map, along with information — collected by Maina, although in the future Terrebonne students will ideally do that work — about what makes them unique. When it’s complete, Maina plans for it to include data from surveys for each location that assess citizens’ “risk perception of the land loss, and how it’s impacting their decisions to adapt.”

“It’s a way to celebrate what we have while we have it,” Foret said of Vanishing Points. “My hope is that it will help kids be better at facing inevitable loss.”

In 1854, a doctor named John Snow set out to test a theory as to what was causing a cholera outbreak in London. After plotting the addresses of plague victims on a map, Snow discovered the greatest number of them lived near the Broad Street water pump in the Soho neighborhood where he lived. As Peter Turchi explains in his book Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer, Snow’s findings contradicted beliefs held by London officials concerning the plague: “Some people believed cholera spread through polluted water, but others believed it was airborne, and still others felt it rose from the ground in cemeteries, from the bodies of plague victims.”

After confirming the presence of an unknown bacterium in water samples taken from the Soho pump, Snow plotted his evidence on a map. “Map in hand,” Turchi writes, Snow “approached the local authorities and persuaded them to remove the pump handle, thus bringing an end to the epidemic — and, even more importantly, helping to solve the mystery of the origin of the disease.”

An elevated house for sale on Isle de Jean Charles; houses in the wetlands outside Pointe-aux-Chenes. Life on the island’s untamed fringe, among the shoulder-high marsh grass, dying, moss-draped oaks and rising water, served as both inspiration and backdrop for “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” the Oscar-nominated allegory of environmental apocalypse that was filmed here.

The “map cures plague” story is commonly cited by cartographers as an example of how their craft is about more than drawing lines on paper. So it wasn’t shocking to see Snow cited on the series of display panels chronicling the history of GIS inside a building at the serenely modern headquarters of Esri, a leading GIS software company based in Redlands, California. “Mapping the Nation,” a company report of sorts, is a glossy, spine-bound book worthy of a coffee table detailing complex GIS mapping efforts contracted by an alphabet soup of government agencies, from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to the National Cancer Institute.

Drew Stephens came on board at Esri during the BP oil spill. Now Esri’s Ocean and Coastal Environments Industry Manager, he found himself in Houma in the spring and summer of 2010, working inside one of the Incident Command Centers erected to coordinate response to the incident. He hired ten cartographers to build a database for generating maps of a disaster area then too large for a plane to survey in a single day.

“There was operational data that was coming in twice a day,” Stephens recalled, referring to the spill. Emergency responders “needed maps of where the blob was. Where are my National Guard people putting up dikes and dams? Where are the fish and wildlife? The demand for up-to-date maps was so great, we started a queue.”

Albert Naquin, Chief of the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimatcha-Choctaw Indians, sits with Wayne Billiott, one of the oldest remaining residents of Isle de Jean Charles. Naquin, whose speech is still sprinkled with the Cajun French heard on the island, grew up on Isle de Jean Charles but now lives in nearby Montegut. Troy Naquin, smoking, has lived on the island his entire life. When I visited Albert in early June, he complained about commentators who wonder why any one would remain on drowning land in a town that doesn’t warrant a mark on the state’s official map. “Why do you live here?” Naquin hissed. “We were forced to. We’re frickin’ Indians.”

Stephens said the preponderance of inaccurate maps and lack of vetted centralized data only added to the chaos. “I saw people trying to process, ‘Why is this map showing me something that isn’t there anymore?’” he recalled. “One guy came in, already angry, and said, ‘I need place names for every one of these islands.’ I said, ‘That’d be neat. Do you have the data?’ We started searching around for those hundreds of thousands of place names, and we couldn’t find all of them.”

Stephens’s oil spill encounters are charged examples of how faulty maps lead to complications more severe than driving into a swamp where you expect to find a road.

As a reminder, the iconic boot that appears on signs, labels, billboards, and documents across the state, the boot that can be found sitting on every available U.S. map, the boot that pops up when you Google “Map of Louisiana,” the boot that each of us first learned to identify in elementary school, looks like this:

As I’ve pointed out again and again in this story, there is no shortage of digital (and digitally enabled) maps providing ample cartographic evidence as to the boot’s inaccuracies. Just this past spring, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released updated nautical charts that removed 31 official place names in a single county, Plaquemines Parish, just south of New Orleans. Meredith Westington, chief geographer with N.O.A.A.’s Office of Coast Survey, said the new navigation charts were produced after processing shoreline data collected in 2007. She expects the areas hadn’t been surveyed in decades — and for more place names to drop off more charts after N.O.A.A. finishes processing all of the 2007 data. That update, to my mind, provides a precedent for a larger rewriting of the map.

Significant barriers — bureaucratic, political, and economic — make any “official” alterations of the boot appear as difficult as actually restoring the land. The Department of Transportation and Development and the U.S.G.S. would have to agree on a shape and then implement a costly replacement plan for images currently in circulation. I called both D. Phil Turnipseed of the National Wetlands Research Center, and Jerome Zeringue, the chair of the C.P.R.A. board and Jindal’s executive assistant for coastal activities, who acknowledged that the state’s current map is deceptive. Of the existing map, Zeringue told me, “People get a false sense of security, they see these topographic maps, they see these solid platforms of marsh that aren’t there… it’s a false reality.” But both officials declined to publicly advocate for a change, which may be legally impossible. Eighty percent of Louisiana’s coast is privately owned.

When presented with my theories about the boot, Charlie Frye, chief cartographer and manager of the Cartographic Projects Group at Esri, pointed out that in “1981, the U.S. Supreme Court decreed that the state boundary of Louisiana was no longer an ambulatory line that could move in response to changes in the coastline, and was henceforth immobilized as a set of fixed coordinates.”

Believing a truer image of the state could be powerful enough to overcome those obstacles, Matter pushed forward with creating our own alternative boot. Andrea Galinski, a coastal resources scientist with the C.P.R.A., provided us with a map that answered this question. Here’s where we started:

Louisiana including non-walkable/non-inhabitable land:

Source: U.S. Geological Survey’s National Land Cover Data (2011)

What would the map look like if wetlands appeared as water and only solid, “walkable” ground appeared as land? Using publicly available data, Galinski created a map on which areas that commonly appear as land on government issued maps—woody wetlands, emergent herbaceous wetlands and barren land—were re-categorized to appear as water:

Louisiana’s walkable/inhabitable land:

Source: U.S. Geological Survey’s National Land Cover Data (2011)

From that map, we created a boot whose southern borders are drawn where terra firma meets water:

On our map, the real map, the boot appears as if it came out on the wrong side of a battle with a lawnmower’s blades. It loses a painful chunk off its heel in Cameron and Vermilion parishes. A gash cutting off the bird’s-foot delta, where the Mississippi empties into the Gulf of Mexico, from the center of the state is reason to consider amputation. Barataria Bay has joined forces with Bay Dosgris to take over Lake Salvador. Golden Meadow, Galliano, Montegut: They’re barely there, clinging to strands of earth as flimsy as dental floss. Lakes Maurepas, Pontchartrain, and Borgne form a contiguous mass flowing into the gulf.

Some people might criticize us for taking out the wetlands entirely, and there are places that do exist in real life—like Isle de Jean Charles—that aren’t on our boot (although they are visible, if barely, on the map we used to create the boot). Maps are approximate, as this story has made clear, even the big ones with lots of detail; symbols like the boot are even more so. Where ours errs, at least it errs on the side of the truth.

So, stop and compare the existing boot with ours. The two images are so significantly different that anyone who encountered the new map would have to squint and ask, What is going on here? Answer: a lot.

Nowadays, the job of communicating our states’ geographic boundaries has fallen almost entirely to the ubiquitous symbols that signal our presence in each of them. Many of those symbols — think Texas, Florida, California — are so effectively iconographic they require no label. Louisiana’s boot is among those, and the power of an altered version would rest on its capacity to communicate the irrefutable truth of its deformity.

A more honest representation of the boot would not erase the intractable disagreements — around global sea level rise, energy jobs versus coastal restoration jobs, oil and gas companies versus the fishing industry — that paralyze state politics, but it would give shape to the awesome stakes, both economic and existential, that hang in the balance. A new map would prove that Louisiana is ready to grapple with the extraordinary task ahead of it. A new map would prove that denial, like the boot, is a remnant of our past.

When I shared my desire to see the map of Louisiana changed with John Barry, the author and instigator of the lawsuit against the oil companies, he was quick to say, “It will never happen.”

He recalled a meeting he attended when he was still on the levee board. It was considering a proposal to install markers around New Orleans showing how high the floodwaters rose during Katrina. Some of the markers would go on levees.

“They came to us because you can’t do anything on the levee without our permission,” recalled Barry, who said the board was supportive of the plan. “There was a guy there from the Business Council [of New Orleans]. He said, ‘This is a bad idea whose time should never come.’ He was worried you were going to scare people.”

Our alternative version of the Louisiana boot is scary, in keeping with the truth Harold Schoeffler has been trying to voice for decades.

Harold Schoeffler, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana

A Lafayette environmentalist, alternative energy entrepreneur, and Cadillac salesman in his mid-70s, Schoeffler doesn’t need to look at our map to know what’s lost. He claims to have “frogged, fished, and hunted just about every inch of marsh that’s out there. And of course, a lot of it isn’t there now.”

We were driving in Schoeffler’s SUV in January with a group from the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club. Every month they gather to tour a different section of the disappearing coast. “We want to see it before it’s gone,” Schoeffler said.

In our day together, these men expressed more calm resignation than anger over the coast’s degradation, perhaps because Schoeffler’s indignation is ferocious enough to speak for them all. Schoeffler is famous in the Atchafalaya Basin for his pugnacious and sometimes brilliant environmental advocacy, and he doesn’t always fall behind the government’s prescribed remedies. He is not terribly enthusiastic, for instance, about the prospects for restoring mass swaths of land with sediment diversions: “It’s like handing someone a pile of sawdust and telling them to build an oak tree.”

At each stop the men exited the van as if they were entering an ancient cathedral: slowly, silently, their eyes alert to sites they may never see again. At Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge, south of Lake Charles, they snapped pictures of geese, ducks, nutrient-starved marsh grass—and of Schoeffler himself, as he surveyed the vanishing wetland through a pair of German World War II field glasses.

Two hours later Schoeffler parked at St. Eugene Catholic Church, in Grand Chenier, to let his comrades snap pictures of a stand of dying oak trees. Before turning back to Lafayette, we drove through the smoke of a wildfire down a bumpy, waterfront road lined with raised mobile homes. Schoeffler pointed to pieces of wood jutting out of the open water far in the distance. “It looks like an old pier, but it’s a cattle pen,” he said. “It was pasture 25 years ago. There were cows there.”

Island Road, in Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, connects the island to the rest of Terrebonne Parish. It is sometimes nearly submerged at high tide.

We arrived back in Lafayette eight hours after we left. I’d filled a notebook in a vain attempt to record every instance when Schoeffler pointed to a lake that used to be marsh, or marsh on its way to becoming extinct. Viewing the wetlands through Schoeffler’s eyes, I saw the same terminal patient that he did.

It all looked different when I returned in May on a self-guided tour of Louisiana’s coast. I drove the southernmost east-west roads along the coast of Louisiana, from New Orleans to Galveston, Texas, and passed back through Cameron Parish on the way. Without Schoeffler delivering his oral history of land loss in my ear, the lakes looked like lakes. The swamps looked like swamps.

I pulled off Highway 82, which runs parallel to the open gulf, and onto a sandy beach. Parents watched over children playing in the surf. Pelicans disappeared into the waves, reemerging with fish in their bills.

Turning away from the ocean, all I saw was the stark, beautiful expanse of marsh grass punctuated in the distance by cypress and oaks. I opened Louisiana’s official map to pinpoint my location. The map confirmed what I saw from the beach: a solid, healthy expanse of land ending abruptly at the open sea.

On our true map, I saw something the human eye can’t perceive: I was standing on a barely visible stripe of earth far offshore, land that anyone who cares knows is in imminent danger of fading into oblivion. On our map, the beach where we stood and the road we traveled to get to it are barely holding on. The map sounds an alarm too few people have heard. That is its point.

Louisiana’s not the only state being forced to confront the reality of global sea level rise and the problems associated with building on naturally shifting and sinking land. Here’s what Brett Anderson discovered during a road trip along the Sandy-ravaged New Jersey coast.

This story was written by Brett Anderson. It was edited by Mark Lotto, fact-checked by Ben Kalin, and copy-edited by Lawrence Levi. Photographs by William Widmer. Illustrations by Matthew Woodson.

Louisiana Loses Its Boot — Matter — Medium.


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PJ’s Coffee Releases a Cold-Drip Iced Coffee Concentrate

Are you a fan of P.J.’s Coffee?

PJs Cold-Drip Iced Coffee Concentrate

Praise the caffeine gods! Fans of PJ’s Coffee‘s cold-drip brew can now stumble out of bed and pour a glass in the comfort of their kitchen.

PJ’s Iced Coffee Concentrate, available in 16 oz. bottles, makes 4-6 servings and is available at all PJ’s Coffee locations.  Their signature cold-drip involves a 24-hour process and is 2/3 less acidic, making for a pleasant cup for those with sensitive stomachs.

The bottles retail for $8.99 each. To locate the PJ’s nearest you, visit here.


via PJ’s Coffee Releases a Cold-Drip Iced Coffee Concentrate | PROPAGANDA New Orleans.


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PJ’s Coffee Releases a Cold-Drip Iced Coffee Concentrate | Arlen Benny Cenac – In My Kitchen.

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Tax-free weekend for hunters set for Sept. 5-7

If you’re scoping out a way to save a little cash as you prepare for hunting season, the state has something for you to set your sights on.

During the weekend of Sept 5-7, you can purchase guns, ammo, archery equipment, clothing and even a new ATV to get you to your deer stand or duck blind without paying state or local taxes.

Because state and local taxes won’t be assessed, in some parts of the state that’s roughly a 10 percent savings.

The 2014 Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday applies to a wide range of hunting gear, including camouflage and other hunting clothing, socks, sweaters, jackets, hats, face masks, insulated underwear, gloves and mittens. Also, safety equipment, knives, game bags and other items are exempt from taxation.

The Department of Revenue says you can purchase tax-free off-road vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles designed and intended primarily for hunting. You can even buy a pirogue or airboat to get to the new blind or tree stand you purchase tax-free.

But the Department of Revenue says exemption “does not apply to golf carts, go-carts, dirt bikes, mini-bikes, motorcycles, tractors, motor vehicles which may be legally driven on the streets and highways of Louisiana.”

Although some might consider it hunting equipment, the exemption also does not apply to “heavy equipment such as cranes, forklifts, backhoes and bulldozers,” the department says.

Visit for more information, including the full list of eligible purchases, as well as those that do not qualify for the sales tax exemption.

Follow Mike Hasten on Twitter @MikeHasten


via Tax-free weekend for hunters set for Sept. 5-7.



Here is more specific information directly from the the Louisiana Department of Revenue.

2014 Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday: September 5-7

Home : Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday

The 2014 Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday takes place Friday, September 5, through Sunday, September 7.

Act 453 of the 2009 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature enacted the “Annual Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Holiday Act” that provides an exemption from state and local sales and use taxes on individuals’ purchases of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies on the first Friday through Sunday of each September.

Purchases Eligible for Exemption

The sales tax holiday applies to all consumer purchases of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies. Firearms eligible for the sales tax exemption include shotguns, rifles, pistols, revolvers, or other handguns, which may be legally sold or purchased in Louisiana. Ammunition intended to be fired from a gun or firearm is eligible for the sales tax exemption. Hunting supplies are eligible for the sales tax exemption only if used for and designed for hunting. Eligible hunting supplies include:

  • Animal feed that is manufactured and marketed as being for consumption primarily by game, which can be legally hunted. This does not include food for animals kept as pets;
  • Apparel such as safety gear, camouflage clothing, jackets, hats, gloves, mittens, face masks and thermal underwear manufactured and marketed as being primarily for wear or use while hunting;
  • Archery items used for hunting such as bows, crossbows, arrows, quivers and shafts;
  • Bags to carry game or hunting gear;
  • Belts that are manufactured and marketed as being primarily for use in hunting;
  • Binoculars only if purchased to be used for hunting;
  • Blinds;
  • Chairs to be used for hunting. This excludes purchases by an individual of chairs or other furniture for household, business or other recreational use;
  • Decoys;
  • Firearm, archery, and other accessories designed for hunting;
  • Float tubes only if purchased to be used for hunting;
  • Hearing protection gear and enhancements;
  • Holsters;
  • Hunting shoes or boots designed and used for hunting;
  • Knives that are manufactured and marketed as being primarily for use in hunting. This excludes the purchase of knives by an individual to be used for household, business or other recreational use;
  • Miscellaneous gear that is manufactured and marketed as being primarily for use in hunting. This includes other hunting-related gear or supplies not previously listed. This excludes the purchase of toy guns and vessels or off road vehicles utilized as children’s toys;
  • Off-road vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles designed and intended primarily for hunting. The exemption does not apply to golf carts, go-carts, dirt bikes, mini-bikes, motorcycles, tractors, motor vehicles which may be legally driven on the streets and highways of Louisiana, or heavy equipment such as cranes, forklifts, backhoes and bulldozers;
  • Optical equipment such as rifle scopes and impact resistant glasses for shooting;
  • Range finders;
  • Slings;
  • Tools that are manufactured and marketed as being primarily for use in hunting;
  • Tree stands; and
  • Vessels such as airboats and pirogues designed and intended for hunting.

Purchases That Are Not Eligible

Consumer purchases do not include the purchase of animals, such as dogs. Hunting supplies do not include the purchase of toy guns and vessels or off road vehicles utilized as children’s toys. Firearms other than those listed are not eligible for the exemption. Purchases made by a business or for business purposes are not eligible for the sales tax exemption.

Conditions for Exemption

The following activities will be eligible during the three days of the Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday:

  • Buying and accepting delivery of consumer purchases of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies.
  • Making final payment on a consumer purchase previously placed on layaway or ordering a consumer purchase for immediate delivery, even if delivery must be delayed, provided that the customer has not requested delayed shipment; and
  • Placing consumer purchases on layaway.

Special Provisions

  • Purchases made during the holiday with “rain checks” issued before the three day holiday are eligible for the exemption, but purchases after the holiday with “rain checks” issued during the holiday are not eligible for the exemption.
  • Orders for immediate shipment are eligible for exemption, even if the shipment is after the holiday, provided that the customer does not request delayed shipment.
  • When a customer purchases an eligible item during the three day holiday, returns it without additional cash consideration after the three day holiday and exchanges it for an essentially identical item of different size, caliber, color or other feature, then it will be eligible for the exemption.
  • When a customer purchases an item eligible for the sales tax exemption during the three-day holiday, returns it after the sales tax holiday and then receives credit on the purchase of a different item, the sales tax is due on the purchase of the new item.
  • For a sixty day period after the holiday, dealers who issue a refund or credit for the return of merchandise that was eligible for the sales tax exemption during the three day holiday can issue a refund or credit for the state and local sales tax only if the customer returning the consumer purchase has receipts or other documentation proving that the sales tax was actually paid on the original purchase.

Cash Register Reprogramming Credit

Act 386 of the 1990 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature provides that dealers who incur costs to reprogram cash registers, including computer programming, as a result of a change in the state sales and use tax rate or base shall be allowed credits on their sales tax returns of up to $25 for each cash register reprogrammed. Dealers are allowed to claim credit only for reprogramming costs invoiced to them by external providers of services, but not for internal reprogramming services rendered within their businesses by such internal persons as owners, officers, partners, or employees.

Dealers whose point-of-sale cash registers are controlled from host computers can deduct the costs invoiced by external service providers to reprogram tax rate or base information in those computers, not to exceed $25 times the number of cash registers controlled from the host computers. For example, a dealer or merchant whose host computer controls 20 point-of-sale cash registers can claim credit for up to $500 in charges for reprogramming services associated with a change in the state sales tax rate or base.

Dealers who do not use point-of-sale cash registers, but who instead issue printed or electronic invoices on which the invoiced tax amounts are determined from tax rate or base information housed in their computers, can deduct up to $25 in external reprogramming costs for each computer that must be reprogrammed because of a change in the state sales tax rate or base. The credit is deductible on Line 12A of the state sales and use tax return (R-1029). Copies of invoices from external service providers must be attached to the tax return to support the amount of credit claimed. More detailed information about the reprogramming credit is available from Revenue Information Bulletin No. 03-009.

Return Filing Procedures

Retailers should report exempt sales on Line 24 of the state sales and use tax return (R-1029).

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Tax-free weekend for hunters set for Sept. 5-7 | Benny Cenac – Louisiana Sportsman.

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Denny’s launches $300 Champagne brunch

I bet you didn’t see this one coming!  Denny’s has gone upscale!  The $300 Dom Pérignon champagne brunch launches in Manhattan, New York.


Its launch comes with the opening of the chain’s first New York eatery located on the ground-floor of a luxury residential building in lower Manhattan, as reported by Bloomberg. 

Denny’s was first founded in 1953 and is known for its no-fuss approach to food serving up pancakes and family-friendly dishes in a casual setting.

In a marked attempt to smarten up its image, the chain’s newly opened New York diner will offer a $300 Grand Cru Slam brunch for two which includes a bottle of Dom Pérignon Champagne, a full bar with Prosecco on tap, cocktail menu and an interior boasting copper-stamped ceilings, wood paneling and leather booths.

The full bar is only present in a handful of Denny’s outlets with only 200 licensed to serve alcohol.

Frances Allen, the company’s chief brand officer, told Bloomberg: “The bar is a reflection of what we believe the people of Manhattan want”

“It’s a very weekend brunch place, and it’s also a place where at brunch you expect a cocktail.”

Denny’s started franchising in 1963 with the majority of its restaurants now franchisee-owned.

The Manhattan outlet is owned by Rahul Marwah, who operates 22 Denny’s locations in Texas and California.

Its cocktail menu and pricey brunch was developed by Californian bar manager Mike Capoferri.

Marwah said: “We wanted a craft cocktail program that was at the same time still very approachable and affordable so that we could bring that craft cocktail culture to the masses.

“We didn’t want to lose sight of the fact we’re still a Denny’s.”

And he isn’t worried if his customer choose to pass on the $300 brunch.

“Even if no one orders it it’s worth the chuckle you might get when you look at the menu.”

Denny’s launches $300 Champagne brunch.

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Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.

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Who you calling a ‘shrimp’?

 Have you this story out of Florida?

Who you calling a ‘shrimp’?
Steve Bargeron was fishing from a dock in Fort Pierce as he watched a fellow fisherman pull this creature out of the water. Steve said the massive thing was about 18 inches long and striking its own tail, so he grabbed it by its back like a lobster. Scientists think it may be some type of mantis shrimp (which are actually not related to shrimp, but are a type of crustacean called a stomatopod), and continue to review the photos to identify the exact species. Have you ever been shocked to find something strange on the end of your line? “Fish tales” and photos welcome!

‪#‎Mantis‬ ‪#‎Creature‬ ‪#‎Crustacean‬ ‪#‎Florida‬ ‪#‎LoveFL‬ ‪#‎Fishing‬ ‪#‎sofl‬

Photo by Steve Bargeron

via Who you calling a ‘shrimp’? Steve Bargeron was fishing….


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Who you calling a ‘shrimp’? | Benny Cenac – Louisiana Sportsman.

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Louisiana has great options for public-land dove hunters

Dove season opens this Saturday, September 6, 2014 thirty minutes before sunrise.



Louisiana’s dove season opens Saturday, and hunters of all ages are hoping for full bags. Public fields on certain wildlife management areas offer shooting that’s not half bad. (Photo by Capt. Peace Marvel)

Louisiana hunters have scratched and clawed across the flaming sands of the offseason desert, but they’re feeling the cool breeze of the oasis, and it ain’t no mirage.

Dove season opens Saturday, and for thousands of outdoors enthusiasts, it’s the official start of fall. Hunters who couldn’t care less about wing-shooting the rest of the season gather over planted and disced fields for the opening-day festivities that are as much a social gathering as a hunt.

Historically, the season has always opened at noon, giving hunters time to get to the fields, set up the grills and tell lies about the summer’s fishing before loading the shotguns. But this year, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission voted unanimously to open the season 30 minutes before sunrise.

The hunter social hour will have to be over breakfast at the local diner.

It’s the rare hunter who doesn’t enjoy a really good dove shoot, so there are always more hunters eager to sky-bust some doves than there are fields available to them. If you don’t have a friend with a field, a tractor and lots of extra hours to kill during planting season under a sweltering June sun, you may think you’re out of luck.

But actually, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has a few options for you. Dove hunting is available on most of the state’s wildlife management areas, but a few are actually planted by LDWF personnel for the sport.

Some offer the same level of success you’d expect dove hunting in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico during your next tuna trip, but other fields leave hunters satisfied every year.

There is a catch, however: If you live in Southeast Louisiana, you’ll have to be willing to drive.

Jeff Duguay, a wildlife biologist at the department, keeps a list of hunter success over WMA dove fields on opening day, and there are a few fields that stand out.

The first is Elbow Slough WMA in Rapides Parish (Rapides is at the dead center of Louisiana; it’s the parish Alexandria is in). The worst opening-day hunt at Elbow Slough over the last three years was in 2011, and it produced 8.3 birds per hunter. That’s a good number for a well-maintained private field with very few hunters.

Last year, opening-day hunters dropped an average of 12.5 birds each.

Just a little to the west of Elbow Slough is Peason Ridge WMA, and hunters there fare far better than average most years. In 2011, Peason Ridge hunters downed 6.7 doves each on opening day, and that number climbed to 9.8 each in 2012.

Southeast Louisiana hunters who feel that’s too far to go for doves have some public-land options closer to home that don’t match that level of quality, but they certainly aren’t horrible.

Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA on the border of Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes produced 3.8 birds per hunter on 2011’s opening day and 3.7 doves per hunter in 2013. The area was closed in 2012 due to impacts from Hurricane Isaac.

Sandy Hollow in Tangipahoa Parish is also popular with area hunters, but success there is more miss than hit. In 2011, the North Tract youth hunt on Sandy Hollow produced 5.5 birds per hunter, and the South Tract hunt was only slightly behind with 4.2 doves per hunter.

Since then, the area has fallen on hard times, however. Sandy Hollow hunters killed an average of 1.9 doves in 2012 and 1.7 in 2013.

In addition to the WMA fields, the department also leases private fields every year and makes them available to the public. This year, the department has signed contracts on two fields, the larger of which is a 500-acre tract planted with corn and milo in Beauregard Parish.

For more information on hunting that field, contact Kori Legleu at 337-491-2575.

The other leased field is in Grant Parish. It features 120 acres of harvested milo.

For more information on that field, contact David Hayden at 318-487-5885.


via Louisiana has great options for public-land dove hunters |


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Louisiana has great options for public-land dove hunters | Benny Cenac – Louisiana Sportsman.

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Louisiana festival guide 2014: September

Louisiana festivals in September 2014



Aug. 27-Sept. 1

Southern Decadence Forty-third annual gay and lesbian celebration features dances, street parties, outdoor concerts, talent shows, costume contest and parades. Most activities take place at the Bourbon Pub. See the website for a schedule of events. Admission: Varies. French Quarter, New Orleans, 504.529.2107.

Aug. 29-Sept. 1

Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival Louisiana’s oldest state-chartered festival boasts a four-day extravaganza of live music, arts and crafts, food, children’s activities, and of course, the traditional blessing of the fleet. Admission: Free. Downtown Morgan City, 715 Second St., Morgan City, 985.385.0703.

Sept. 5-6

St. Martinville Kiwanis Pepper Festival Carnival rides, crafts, food, drinks and live music. Festival grounds, corner of N New Market and E Madison, St. Martinville, 337.394.7408.

Sept. 5-7

TaWaSi Bayou Lafourche Antiques Show More than 40 dealers sell furniture, jewelry, books, paper, glassware, art, tools guns and more. Net proceeds benefit local charities, schools and community projects. The 38th annual show also features an on-site cafe with Cajun cooking. Admission: $10 at the door; good for all three days. Warren J. Harang, Jr. Municipal Auditorium, 310 North Canal Boulevard, Thibodaux, 985.413.1147, email

Sept. 12

Scales and Ales A swanky, adults-only fundraiser for the Aquarium features live music, food and beverages from local restaurants, and a raffle. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, 1 Canal St, New Orleans, 504.861.5107.

Sept. 12-14

Shrimp Festival The second annual fete features shrimp prepared a multitude of ways, plus other food, music, games, and sports. Admission: $2 for attendees age 12 and older. Shrimp Festival Grounds (Meraux), 2501 Archbishop Hannan Blvd., Meraux, 504.278.4296.

Sept. 18-21

New Orleans Burlesque Festival Drawing talent from around the world, the festival features performances, workshops, panel discussions, a competition, and appearances by legendary stars from the past. Admission: $22-$50. Harrah’s New Orleans, 8 Canal St., and House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., New Orleans, 504.975.7425, email

Sept. 19-20

Marthaville Good Ole Days Festival Music, food, a parade, arts and crafts, heritage displays, and more. Admission: Free. Marthaville.

Meat Pie Festival Meat pies, music and more. Downtown Natchitoches.

Sept. 24-28

Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival A midway of treats, games of chance, rides, shows of arts and crafts, flowers and photography. Admission: Free for many events. Cover charge for some dances. New Iberia, 337.369.9323.

Sept. 25-27

Great Southern RV Park Bluegrass Festival The biannual bluegrass festival presents three days of live music in a family-friendly, air-conditioned atmosphere with no drugs or alcohol. Concessions will be sold. Bring your own lawn chairs. RV hookups are $15 per day. Admission: $15 per day, $40 for a three-day pass; children 12 and under free with parent. Great Southern RV Park, 30338 Louisiana 21, Angie, 985.516.4680.

Sept. 25-28

Alligator Festival The Rotary Club of St. Charles hosts the 34th annual festival to raise scholarships for local youth. Admission: $1. Ride wristbands, $12-$20. West Bank Bridge Park, 13825 River Rd., Luling.

Sept. 26-27

The Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival Two stages of national, regional and local performers, plus a splash park, children’s activities, free entry to on-site museums, food, arts and crafts vendors. The 2014 lineup includes J.J. Grey and Mofro, Ruthie Foster, Devon Allman, Mike Zito, Johnny Sansone, Big George Brock, Paul Thorn, and more. Admission: $15 at the gate, $10 advance, free for children age 12 and younger. Cassidy Park, 129 Ben Miller Drive, Bogalusa, 985.205.1075.

Jim Bowie BBQ Festival A KCBS-sanctioned state championship barbecue competition, skeet shooting, archery, a dunk booth, pageant, arts and crafts, music and more. Admission: TBA. Mississippi riverfront, Vidalia, 318.336.8223.

Sept. 26-28

Cut Off Youth Center Hurricane Festival Live music, food, arts and crafts, games and rides, an auction and more. Admission: Free. Cut Off Youth Center, 205 W. 79th St., Cut Off.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help School Fair “OLPH Rocks This Town” in 2014 with game booths, rock wall climbing, a bumble bee train, home-cooked food, and live music by Chicken on the Bone, the Strays, Bag of Donuts, the Rock Its, and the Chee-Weez. Admission: Free. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 8968 LA 23, Belle Chasse.

Sept. 27

Best of the Bayou Music, Cajun cuisine, alligator races, arts and crafts. Admission: Free. Downtown Houma, 985.876.5600.

Germantown Bluegrass Festival One-day bluegrass festival with crafts and food. Germantown Colony Museum, 121 Museum Road, Minden, 318.377.2508.

St. Augustine High School Edwin Hampton Music Festival Hamp Fest honors the St. Aug band director and founder of the “Marching 100″ with performances by New Orleans bands with special guests. Admission: 2014 pricing TBA. St. Augustine High School, 2600 A.P. Tureaud Ave, 504.940.5980.

Sept. 27-28

Harvest Days Demonstrations of historical, agricultural and domestic activities, games, and reenactments. Admission: $9 adult, $8 for LSU students, seniors, and school groups, plus children age 5-11, and free for children younger than 5. Rural Life Museum, 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, 225.765.2437.

Sept. 30-Oct. 4

Beauregard Parish Fair Agricultural exhibits, carnival rides, a parade, pageant, music, arts and crafts. Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds, 506 West Drive, DeRidder, 337.375.2028.


via Louisiana festival guide 2014: September |


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Louisiana festival guide 2014: September | Benny Cenac – My Louisiana.

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All The Cakes You Can Make With Just A Box Of Cake Mix And A Bottle Of Soda

So, you want to make a cake but you ran out of eggs?  Did you know that you don’t actually have to use the ingredients listed on the back of the box to make a delicious cake?  As it turns out, all you really need is a a can of soda.

betty crocker


Eggs, butter (or oil), water. Heat, beat, bake. Easy as cake from a box pie.

But there is something easier, dear cake-lovers. Swap all but the cake mix for a bottle of soda. As Youtuber Mind Over Munch instructs in her video, stir 12 ounces of a carbonated beverage into your prepackaged cake flour, plop the mixture into a pan and bake it in the oven as directed on the box. There you have it: Cake.

We’re all for baking complicated cakes — the kind that take precise measuring, delicate flavor pairings and fine-tuned focus. But this soda-plus-cake recipe can be justified: It does wonders for the time-pressed, cake-driven baker. And for a bit of bonus, the soda will cut the fat from the cake and, if you choose a low-calorie or diet beverage, the calories, too.



This particular recipe, which combines a Betty Crocker Super Moist White cake mix and 12 ounces of peach mango-flavored, no-calorie soda, contains 160 calories and 3 grams of fat per slice. The original recipe on the box contains 228 calories and 10 grams of fat. Not a bad reduction.

And the fruity vanilla flavored cake is only the start to the exciting taste combinations. The possibilities are endless, so we’ve racked our brain for some more artesianal soda-cake pairings to try. Here’s what we came up with:

French Vanilla Cake Mix + Orange Soda = Creamsicle Cake


French Vanilla Cake Mix + Grape Soda = Purple Cow Cake
purple cow

Strawberry Cake Mix + Vanilla Cream Soda = Strawberry Shortcake
strawberry shortcake

Spice Cake Mix + Ginger Ale = Ginger Spice Cake

Dark Chocolate Cake Mix + Root Beer = Chocolate Root Beer Float
root beer

Cherry Chip Cake Mix + Dr. Pepper Cherry = Very Cherry Cherry Chip Cake

Devil’s Food Cake Mix + Diet Coke = Sinless Devil’s Food Cake

Lemon Cake Mix + Sprite = Zesty Lemon Cake

Do note: If you’re the type who refuses to eat cake without frosting, please, by all means, add frosting.




via All The Cakes You Can Make With Just A Box Of Cake Mix And A Bottle Of Soda.


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Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.




All The Cakes You Can Make With Just A Box Of Cake Mix And A Bottle Of Soda | Arlen Benny Cenac – In My Kitchen.

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Record gator caught during first weekend of season

Source: DWFP


JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) –

Labor Day weekend has a special significance for alligator hunters in Mississippi.   A few days into the start of this year’s hunting season, a record-setting 756-pound gator was caught by Robert Mahaffey of Brandon in the first weekend of the season.

“That’s the largest one we’ve weighed so far that’s taken by a hunter,” said state alligator coordinator Ricky Flynt of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. “We know there are larger individual alligators out there. Wouldn’t be surprised to see 14 foot plus, or even a thousand pounds. We know that’s capable of happening.”

Gator hunting is something that’s been popular for several years in Mississippi and surrounding states, permitted here by DWFP since 2005. However, this is the second year wildlife officials have allowed the gator hunting statewide, and Flynt said it’s still in high demand.

“I think a lot of that can be thanked to cable television and various shows that are out there have become very popular,” said Flynt. “You know, back in the late 70s and 80s, it was Jaws and sharks. Sharks were the craze. I guess nowadays it seems like alligators are the craze.”

So what does it take to bag a record-breaking gator? Flynt said manpower is key. After all, the longest one last year was a male measuring 13 feet, seven inches.

“They’re very long-lived animals, so they can get to very large sizes,” Flynt said. “There’s obviously going to be a lot of large individual animals out there for the taking, and we expect those records to continue to be broken.”

Hunters are only allowed to harvest two per person, and DWFP maintains the gators must be at least four feet long, with only one of them that can exceed seven feet.

Also, bring a friend. There’s no limit to how many people can be in a hunting party as long as one of them holds a hunting permit for gators.   The gator hunting season ends Sept. 8.

via Record gator caught during first weekend of season – FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports.


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Record gator caught during first weekend of season | Benny Cenac – Louisiana Sportsman.

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No Brie for Moscow as Cheese Stacks Up in France on Ban

Brie cheese.


At Alexander Krupetskov’s one-window cheese store in central Moscow, sales of products from France have tripled in the past two weeks.

Shoppers are stocking up on foods set to become scarce after Russia banned a range of products from the European Union and the U.S. in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine. The nation of 143 million has been one of the fastest-growing export markets for French cheesemakers as Moscovites acquire a taste for creamy brie, pungent camembert and spicy Roquefort.

“The very foundation of the shop has been cast into major doubt,” said Krupetskov, who has four weeks of inventory left.

French cheese exports to Russia climbed 29 percent to 49.5 million euros ($66 million) last year, beating a 4.4 percent increase in total exports to 3 billion euros. Brie shipments to Russia rose 37 percent, while sales of stronger-tasting Roquefort advanced 13 percent, Eurostat trade data show.

At the Rungis food market outside Paris, a 30-hour drive west of Moscow, Nicolas Medard, deputy director of Thomas Export, says 100,000 rounds of brie headed for Russia are stranded after the ban announced on Aug. 7, with no new destination for now.

“All these cases were for Russia,” Medard says, pulling a tin of Pere Toinou brie from one of 2,000 plastic-wrapped cardboard boxes. “We’ll lose about 120,000 euros.”

Russia’s blacklisting of $9.5 billion of agricultural products and food from the U.S., the EU, Norway, Canada and Australia is likely to accelerate annual inflation to 8 percent in 2015, above a target of 4.5 percent, according to government officials.

Specialty Store

Thomas Export may lose about 1.3 million euros in total sales due to Russia’s ban, around 4 percent of the company’s revenue, according to Medard. Sales to Ukraine are also in decline, he said.

In addition to Roquefort, Krupetskov displays French cheeses such as Fol Epi and Saint Agur. At the specialty store, which the cheesemonger says is the first of its kind in Moscow, French varieties accounted for 60 percent of the selection, with the remainder Swiss.

Swiss exporter Intercheese AG said last week it’s been contacted by Russian buyers looking for cheeses they can no longer get from the EU, such as mozzarella, Gouda and Edam.

Krupetskov, who says he panicked when he heard about the import ban, is looking to sample cheese from Latin America or Israel that might help restock his shelves.

Production Halt

The EU exported 257,000 tons of cheese to Russia last year, accounting for 33 percent of shipments outside the bloc and 2.6 percent of production. Cheese and curd shipments to Russia had a value of 985 million euros, with the Netherlands, Germany and Lithuania the biggest suppliers.

Dutch dairy producer FrieslandCampina said yesterday it halted production of cheese specifically for the Russian market. The company said it exported about 190 million euros of dairy products to Russia last year, and said the ban is adding to pressure on dairy markets.

While Germany and the Netherlands mostly sell bulk varieties such as yellow Edam to Russia, France and Italy ship higher-value specialty cheeses, said Bart Van Belleghem, managing director of the European Association of Dairy Trade, or Eucolait.

Export prices for French cheese were an average 4.30 euros per kilogram (2.2 pounds) last year, while Italy got 6.39 euros per kilogram, trade data published by Eurostat show. That compared with 3.36 euros a kilogram for Germany, the EU’s biggest cheese exporter.

Price Pressure

France and Italy ranked eighth and ninth among EU cheese exporters to Russia last year, meaning “the effects will be felt less harshly than in, say, Lithuania,” Van Belleghem said by telephone from Brussels on Aug. 14. “It could result in some price pressure, but I expect it to be less than for Gouda-type cheeses.”

At Societe Fromagere de la Brie, a cheesemaker in Saint-Simeon in the Brie region southeast of Paris, director Philippe Bobin saw no direct impact on earnings. He was concerned that falling milk prices will hurt the farmers who supply his company, making it tempting to drop dairy for growing grain.

The company, one of the last two artisanal brie makers in the region, makes the traditional variety from raw milk as well as a pasteurized version for exports. Societe Fromagere de la Brie lifted sales 8 percent last year to about 10 million euros.

Milk Prices

“The impact of the Russian embargo may be more violent and quicker than we think,” Bobin said. “As of this week, milk prices in the trade are starting to fall. We risk selling our cheeses at a lower price, but recompensed by the lower purchasing price of the raw material.”

The average milk price paid by 13 French dairies in August was 38.154 euro cents a liter, compared with an average base price of 38.021 euro cents in July for 19 dairies, according to data published online by milk producers.

Russia may have trouble finding a cheese supplier to replace Europe, Van Belleghem said. The country was 51 percent self-sufficient in cheese last year, while imports from the EU accounted for 29 percent of supply and Belarus supplied 12 percent, according to data from the European Commission.

“For milk powder and butter, I don’t expect any problems, there’s sufficient availability,” Van Belleghem said. “For cheese from Europe, there aren’t too many alternatives.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at; Anatoly Medetsky in Moscow at; Caroline Connan in London at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Deane at Steve Stroth, Randall Hackley


No Brie for Moscow as Cheese Stacks Up in France on Ban – Bloomberg.


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10-Hour ‘Pay It Forward” Line Ends With Customer No. 458 Who Refuses

Don’t be customer no. 458!  Pay it forward!

A 10-hour stream of kindness ended abruptly at a Florida Starbucks Wednesday evening when customer No.458 broke ranks and declined to “pay it forward” for the next drive-thru patron.

“She got a free drink from the previous customer,” Celeste Guzman, manager at the Starbucks on Tyrone Boulevard in St. Petersburg, told ABC News today.

“She was happy about that,” Guzman said. “But she didn’t want to pay for the next patron.

“It all started at 7:21 a.m. yesterday morning when a woman paid for her iced coffee and decided to pay for the caramel macchiato the customer behind her ordered as well,” Guzman said.


10-Hour ‘Pay It Forward” Line Ends With Customer No. 458 Who Refuses – Yahoo.


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▶ Drone Films Redfish Action

Amazing drone video catches Redfish fishing in action!


via ▶ Drone Films Redfish Action – YouTube.


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▶ Drone Films Redfish Action | Benny Cenac – Louisiana Sportsman.

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Are Egg Whites Or Whole Eggs Healthier?


You’ve tried so hard to be healthy. You watch your calories, exercise regularly and always toss out the yolks when you make your veggie omelet. Well, it may be time to reconsider! (At least when it comes to your eggs.) Whole eggs don’t raise your risk of heart disease — in fact, according to nutrition coach Liz Wolfe, NTP, author of Eat The Yolks, it may be worse for your health to not eat them.

The Scrambled Facts
Egg yolks, along with other sources of saturated fat and cholesterol, came under fire in the wake of research by Nikolai Anichkov at the turn of the 20th century. Anichkov fed rabbits pure cholesterol and noted that their arteries clogged up with plaque, leading to a hypothesis that cholesterol promotes heart disease. But since then, there have been questions raised about how closely the two are related. Wolfe counters: “Rabbits have nothing in common with human bodies … and cholesterol isn’t part of their diet anyway.”

Nevertheless, the findings gave rise to a witch hunt that demonized foods high in fat and cholesterol. Researcher Ancel Keys made headlines in the 1950s with his Seven Countries’ Study, which almost single-handedly set the line of thinking on saturated fat that prevails today. Keys claimed that after looking at the average diets of populations in seven different countries, he was able to determine that those who ate the most animal fat had the highest rates of heart disease. But his analysis was flawed. Although Keys’ data did show a connection between fat and heart disease, he couldn’t demonstrate that the relationship was causal. Furthermore, while mortality rates for heart disease were higher in the countries that consumed the most animal fat, deaths from nearly ever other cause were lower — and overall life expectancy was higher.

The Sunny Side Of Things
Thankfully, more concrete findings have come to light in the years since. In 2010, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a meta-analysis — the collected findings of 21 different studies — which stated that “saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke or coronary vascular disease.”

Earlier this year, Time magazine reversed the argument it made in a 1984 cover story claiming eggs and other high-fat foods were dangerous, and even encouraged readers to eat butter over margarine.

So what is the real cause of heart disease? Wolfe suggests it lies in the inflammation caused by “chronic stress levels, and the overconsumption of vegetable oils and processed carbohydrates.” In other words: “Limit foods that come in boxes and bags.”

The Hard-Boiled Truth
Meanwhile, if you’ve been avoiding egg yolks, you’ve been missing out on a world of good nutrition. According to Wolfe, “They’re a great source of vitamin A, which is good for skin, B vitamins for energy and choline, which supports brain health, muscles and is necessary for a healthy pregnancy.” The saturated fat in yolks is also necessary for hormone production and the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals.

As long as you control your overall calories, whole egg consumption won’t cause weight gain, despite its fat content. However, if you’re trying to hit certain macronutrient numbers for a diet, or just want to restrict calories, having a few white-only eggs can be appropriate. When in doubt, check in with a nutritionist to see how well your current food choices stack up against your health and fitness goals.

By Life by DailyBurn


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via Are Egg Whites Or Whole Eggs Healthier?.



Are Egg Whites Or Whole Eggs Healthier? | Arlen Benny Cenac – In My Kitchen.

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How to Send Your Child to an Elite Private College for Less Than the Cost of a State School 



If your college savings are low, but you still have a strong desire to send your child to an elite private college, this may be one of the most important articles you read all year.

But first, why do private colleges consistently rank higher than state run universities?

1. Private colleges typically offer much smaller class sizes and more individual attention. A smaller student to professor ratio means more focus on each individual student’s needs. A smaller classroom is a more intimate setting, which allows students to feel more comfortable speaking up or asking questions during discussions and lectures. Plus, professors are more likely to be readily available to their students… often maintaining an open-door policy at their offices.

2. The average four-year graduation rate is almost double what the average state school is.

3. Private colleges tend to have higher standards for acceptance, along with a higher standard of conduct than most public colleges.

4. Private colleges tend to focus on fewer areas. This allows specialization that produces a higher caliber of graduate in those fields.

5. Private colleges typically have bigger endowments which can be used to attract better professors and faculty.

Keep in mind, the focus of this report is not to downgrade public colleges. In many situations, a public college can give a child a great education for a good price. But for those parents who have always dreamed of a private college education for their children, keep reading.

Average Private College Costs Versus State-Run Universities

The College Board reports that a “moderate” college budget for an in-state public college for the 2010-2011 academic year averaged $20,339. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $40,476. (A college budget or ‘sticker price’ includes both tuition, fees, housing, meals, books, supplies, plus personal and transportation expenses.)

That’s nearly twice the cost to send your child to a public college.

KEY POINT: What the sticker price is for a college is not necessarily what a family pays for college.

Sticker price is the price a college quotes all students before factoring in any scholarships, grants or student loans.

If you take one thing from this article, it is this point…

There can be a huge difference between the sticker price and what a parent actually pays for college.

We talked earlier about several of the biggest advantages private colleges have over state school. But perhaps the biggest advantage is that private colleges typically give out a much higher amount of free gift-aid than state schools.

(Gift aid is typically what brings down the sticker price of a private college… So much so, that a higher sticker priced college can often times end up costing less than a state university.)

So, what determines if a family gets free gift-aid?

It is determined by something called the financial aid formula and here’s how the financial aid formula breaks down:

C.O.A (Cost of Attendance) – E.F.C. (Expected Family Contribution) =Need

Or, put another way…

Cost of Attendance (C.O.A. – also called the “sticker price” or “college budget”) minus the Expected Family Contribution (E.F.C. – this is the number based on the FAFSA that determines what your family can afford to pay for college each year. It’s mostly based on the parents’ and students’ income and family assets and is normally higher then you were hoping it was going to be) This calculation determines the Family Need (how much aid your family is eligible for)

Let’s look at an example from a couple years ago so that you can see this in action.

Example: “The Jones Family”

Widener University
$50,221 (Cost of Attendance)
– 14,921 (Expected Family Contribution)
= 35,300 (Family Need)

Based on this formula, Widener’s Financial Aid Department came back with the following total aid award package…

$17,000 Presidential Scholarship
$10,700 Widener Grant-in-aid
$3,500 Direct Federal Subsidized-loan
$2,000 Direct Federal Unsubsidized-loan
$1,100 Federal Work-Study
$1,000 Federal Perkins Loan
$35,300 Total Aid Awarded

This award package shows us that Widener met 100 percent of the Jones family’s financial need. And they did so with more than 78 percent in free gift-aid.

So instead of paying the sticker price of $50,221, the Joneses pay $14,921 per year out-of-pocket to send their child to Widener.

Now let’s compare this with what they were awarded at a state college…

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
$24,167 (Cost of attendance for in-state students)
– $14,921 (Expected Family Contribution)
= $9,246 (Family Need)

$600 Michigan Competitive Scholarship
$1,000 Private Scholarship
$3,500 Direct Federal Subsidized-loan
= $5,100 Total Aid Awarded

This brings the cost of University of Michigan-Ann Arbor to $19,067 per year out-of-pocket.
This is a textbook example of how a high-priced, elite private college actually could cost less than an in-state public university.

We’ve seen thousands of examples just like this over the years.

Keep this idea in mind as you move forward with your family’s college planning.

Remember, don’t rule out an elite private school just based on the sticker price. There is a good chance you won’t pay anywhere near that price. And you may even end up paying far less than you would at an in-state public college.

via How to Send Your Child to an Elite Private College for Less Than the Cost of a State School | Scott Weingold.


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How to Send Your Child to an Elite Private College for Less Than the Cost of a State School  | Arlen Benny Cenac – Education.

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Whole Foods Market holds Local 101 for Louisiana Vendors

Calling all Louisiana food grower or suppliers:  Don’t miss your opportunity to learn how to have your product sold at Whole Foods Market.

If you are a grower or supplier in Louisiana there are some tips available that can help you learn how to get on grocer’s shelves.

Local Forager Kelly Landrieu will lead a Local 101 class from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22 at Lafayette Economic Development Authority on 211 E. Devalcourt St.

The free program will cover in-depth information on Whole Foods Market’s quality standards, food safety, retail-ready packaging, regulatory requirements and the process to becoming a supplier.

Landrieu notes, “Louisiana is known for its amazing food and culture, and Local 101 is a great way to understand necessary steps in becoming a supplier for Whole Foods Market. We’re excited about the opportunity to showcase local products and flavors.”

Local 101 is free and open to all Louisiana growers, food artisans and body care suppliers. For reservations, email

Whole Foods Market will open its first-ever store in Shreveport sometime in 2015. A new store will also open Wednesday, Sept. 24 in Lafayette.

via Whole Foods Market® holds Local 101 for Louisiana Vendors –


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Food truck with a difference: Converted bus brings fresh produce to low-income neighborhoods

Benny Cenac:

This could be a solution to the problem of little fresh produce available in low income neighborhoods still struggling after Katrina.

Don’t be fooled by lush lawns, trees and access to fresh water; in a food desert, the mirage is the place selling inexpensive, fresh produce among the fast-food outlets and overpriced grocery chains. Trying to assemble ingredients for a good, healthy salad, or filling a pot with enough veggies to feed a big family without breaking the bank, is next to impossible here and, unfortunately, a city as big as Toronto has plenty of them.

The problem is, they’re invisible to those of us with healthy incomes. On Old Meadow Lane in Lawrence Heights, for example – while it’s only an eight-minute walk to traverse the noisy half-kilometre to Fortino’s at Lawrence Square Shopping Centre – a $20 budget won’t get a low-income person very far. And speaking of far, the 1.3 kilometres to the Metro at Lawrence and Bathurst isn’t worth the half-hour round-trip (which can be a lot longer if you use a walker or have a couple of fussy kids), as the only things one might buy there are items that have been reduced.

“By the time produce is on special there, the quality is so poor,” explains Afua Asantewaa of FoodShare Toronto. “If it’s not a discount grocery store like FreshCo or No Frills, they’re generally not accessible to the residents in the neighbourhoods we serve.”

If only there were a way to get fresh food directly to these dinner-tables-in-the-desert.… That was the conversation in 2012, says Ms. Asantewaa, 45, who co-ordinates FoodShare’s Mobile and Good Food Markets, when the dream was to convert a full-sized TTC bus into a mobile produce market, just like the “Fresh Moves” program in Chicago had done. While FoodShare was getting by using a cube van, staff craved something customized for the task; however, limited real estate and a limited budget soon squashed the full-sized bus plan, and discussion turned to a smaller Wheel-Trans bus.

And while the TTC stepped up and donated one, a major redesign to showcase the fresh wares still had to take place if the new Mobile Good Food Market was to become a reality. To that end, LGA Architectural Partners, headed by the dynamic duo of Janna Levitt and Dean Goodman, came to the rescue and offered their services pro bono.

“This is what we love and motivates us about architecture,” offers Mr. Goodman, who also worked on the converted shipping containers that now make up Market 707 at Scadding Court Community Centre. “It’s not what the particular design is, but more about the critical issue: Can we use our skill to make our city and community a better place to live in.” The bus, the architect continues, should function as a “food stand,” so, with the help of fabricator Crew Chief Conversions, an entire side was cut open and put on hinges to create an awning and create an instant gathering-space.

“The design also offered the opportunity to shop from the inside in inclement weather,” he adds, pointing out that as a former Wheel-Trans bus, ramps for ease of entry and exit were already in place. “Good food is beautiful when displayed well, so when we decided we wanted this to be a feature we worked out the mechanism so one person could fold out the shelves, restock as necessary and display the food so it was attractive.”

It’s true: When parked and fully merchandized, you hardly see the bus. Instead, it’s a visual feast of cascading bins of leafy lettuce, onions and berries, and more exotic fare such as okra or yuca (cassava) to reflect the wide range of ethnicities the bus serves. And, as luck would have it, says Ms. Asantewaa, some items cross international boundaries, which saves money when ordering from the Ontario Food Terminal: “I couldn’t order half a box [of okra]; whether it’s South Asian, West African, or Caribbean people, they all use okra, so it’s worked out really well.”

The 20-per-cent markup, which covers only the bus’s expenses, means $20 can go a very, very long way indeed(in fact, this writer saw quite a few folks fill a bag and get change back from a five). Plus, as with anything food-related, the Mobile Market’s weekly arrival is a great reason to socialize with neighbours and with the affable driver, Dave Perry. On Old Meadow Lane one June evening, a small, chatty crowd gathered around the bus and at the folding table a few metres away (where produce is weighed) well past the dinner-hour. Two men had even set up a chess game under the shade of a tree nearby in order to be part of the buzz.

“And the yam was very nice, bring back more yams,” said a muumuu-clad Jamaican lady to Mr. Perry.

“White yam, right?” he asks, punching a few notes into his iPad. “We can do that.”

“Tonight, I’m going to make vegetarian roti,” says another woman to her neighbour, holding up a colourful bag and matching it with a dazzling smile.

To create more happy scenes – and there are many produce-starved areas begging for service – will require more funding, says Ms. Asantewaa, as putting the bus on the road more than the current two-days-per-week has been difficult.

“Unless we get more funding,” she finishes, “it’s not likely to happen.”


If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter @ArlenBennyCenac
Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.

Originally posted on Arlen Benny Cenac - In My Kitchen:

This could be a solution to the problem of little fresh produce available in low income neighborhoods still struggling after Katrina.

Don’t be fooled by lush lawns, trees and access to fresh water; in a food desert, the mirage is the place selling inexpensive, fresh produce among the fast-food outlets and overpriced grocery chains. Trying to assemble ingredients for a good, healthy salad, or filling a pot with enough veggies to feed a big family without breaking the bank, is next to impossible here and, unfortunately, a city as big as Toronto has plenty of them.

The problem is, they’re invisible to those of us with healthy incomes. On Old Meadow Lane in Lawrence Heights, for example – while it’s only an eight-minute walk to traverse the noisy half-kilometre to Fortino’s at Lawrence Square Shopping Centre – a $20 budget won’t get a low-income person very far. And speaking of…

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The 17 Craziest Ice Cream Flavors

Some of these flavors sound delicious.  Some of them, not so much.


Ice cream for lunch? Count us in. Here’s the scoop on the most unexpected flavors to try right now.
photography by Michael Wiltbank



1. Pizza at Max and Mina’s in Flushing, New York

2. Bone Marrow at Salt & Straw in Portland, Orgeon

3. Roasted Garlic Almond Chip at Sebastian Joe’s in Minneapolis, Minnesota

4. Boccalone and Prosciutto at Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco, California

5. Cicada at Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream in Columbia, Missouri

6. Dill Pickle at Udder Delights in Gilbert, Arizona

7. Bay of Figs at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream in Bar Harbor, Maine

8. Callebaut Wasabi at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream in Bar Harbor, Maine

9. Baklava at Sweet Action Ice Cream in Denver, Colorado


10. Strawberry Ricotta at Udder Delights in Gilbert, Arizona

11. Guiness Gingerbread at Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco, California

12. Cream Cheese at Max and Mina’s in Flushing, New York

13. Lychee Mochi at Bubbies Ice Cream in Honolulu, Hawaii

14. Cereal Milk at Momofuko Milk Bar in New York, New York

15. Rosewater Saffron with Pistachios at Mashti Malone in Hollywood, California

16. Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel at Black Dog in Chicago, Illinois

17. Whiskey and Peanuts at Jeni’s in Columbus, Ohio


via The 17 Craziest Ice Cream Flavors (We Can’t Get Enough Of!) | Domino.


If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter @ArlenBennyCenac
Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.



Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.: The 17 Craziest Ice Cream Flavors.

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These Are The 10 Safest Places In Louisiana

Louisiana is a marvelous place. Unique terrain, plenty of excitement, and a thriving mix of cultures you can’t find anywhere else on earth make this place a great destination for those looking to relocate. However, people on the move might be wondering where the safest places are for them and their families.

Lucky for those people, the Movoto Real Estate Blog is here. We can do more than help you find a house there—we’ve gathered the data, analyzed it, and made a list of the 10 absolute safest spots in the state. Those places were:

1. City of Jennings
2. City of Scott
3. City of Baker
4. City of Plaquemine
5. City of Mandeville
6. City of Harahan
7. City of Zachary
8. Morgan City
9. City of Breaux Bridge
10. City of Westwego

These small places were all big on safety, and offer great living environments for people looking to stay secure and happy. But how did we judge these places as safe or not?

Wonder no more, because we decided to play it safe ourselves and go by the numbers. We’ll even talk about how we did everything in the very next section.

How We Created This Ranking

There’s safety in numbers, and we sure got some decisive ones here. First, we compiled a list of the biggest places in the state over 7,000 people. Then we collected crime data from the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report in the following areas:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Vehicle theft

We divided those crimes into the following categories:

  • Murders
  • Violent crimes
  • Property crimes
  • Total crimes

If a location did not have any reported crime data, we omitted it from the list, leaving us with 39 places. So, if you see your hometown is missing, and there were many places that did not have reported data, that could be the reason.

Once we had all that, we found crime rates per 100,000 people for each place, in order to fairly compare big and small locations. Then, we ranked each place in each category from one to 39, with scores closer to one being safer.

Lastly, we weighted each category so that murders, violent crimes, and property crimes accounted for 30 percent of the overall score, where total crimes made up 10. After all, some crimes are considered worse, and more dangerous, than others.

We averaged these adjusted rankings into one overall Big Deal Score, and the lowest score became our safest place.

If you want to see all 39 places and their rankings, you can check out the chart at the bottom of this article. For now, we’ll go over the top 10 safest places, and look more closely at why they ranked where they did.

1. Jennings

Safest Places in Louisiana

Source: Flickr user Peter Vidrine

If you’re looking for a place to settle down, raise a family, retire, or just enjoy your life, you can safely do so in Jennings.

For starters, Jennings had no murders and no assaults reported in 2012, as well as no automobile thefts. Of course, there were a few other crimes reported, but there were very few indeed.

With one rape, nine robberies, 55 burglaries, and 250 thefts per 100,000 people, this is an amazingly safe little city.

If you still need more evidence, the chance of being the victim of a crime here is 1 in 317, and there’s next to no chance it would be a violent one. You can bet that Jennings locals are sleeping peacefully tonight.

2. Scott

Safest Places in Louisiana

Source: City of Scott

Though not as big as first place Jennings, with only 8,776 residents, Scott still knows how to play it safe with that small-town vibe.

There were no murders reported in 2012, there was one rape and two robberies per 100,000 people, and there were also very few assaults. Is it any surprise that this place had the third lowest property crime and the seventh lowest violent crime on our list?

With the fourth lowest total crime, locals here have merely a 1 in 412 chance of being the victim of a crime, which is a great reason to call Scott home.

Scott was ranked the second cleanest city in the state by the Federation of Louisiana Garden Clubs recently, so this place has many selling points.

3. Baker

Safest Places in Louisiana

Source: Flickr user Hardie Midkiff

If you’re looking to get away from violence, Baker is definitely the place for you.

These fine folks wouldn’t hurt a fly, as evidenced by the third lowest violent crime ranking on our list. With one rape, six robberies, and four assaults per 100,000 people in 2012, the likelihood of you being the victim of a violent crime here is next to nothing.

And what about other sorts of crime? Baker ranked well there too, with the ninth lowest property crime and the ninth lowest total crime.

Wrap that all up with locals having only a 1 in 260 chance of being the victim of a crime, and you can breathe easy when you live in this little city.

4. Plaquemine

Safest Places in Louisiana

Source: Flickr user Brian Mooney

Like Baker, the city of Plaquemine is a no-violence zone. Besides some great museums and unique architecture, this very small city of 7,122 people had the lowest violent crime on our entire list.

With no murders or assaults, and two rapes and five robberies per 100,000 people in 2012, this place is perfect for families, retirees, and, really, everyone.

The thefts here were a little higher than others in our top 10, and this place ranked 13th for property crime.

Still, besides that small downfall, locals to Plaquemine had only a one in 212 chance of being the victim of a crime. Compared to most bigger cities in the state, that’s an amazing number.

5. Mandeville

Safest Places in Louisiana

Source: Flickr user Peter Clark

Mandeville, home to 11,777 very lucky residents, had the ninth lowest violent crime, the eighth lowest property crime, and eighth lowest total crime on our list.

This place also had no murders, and very few rapes, robberies, or vehicle thefts, to be more specific.

What does that mean for locals? Mandeville, many times named in Relocate America’s top 100 cities, offers a 1 in 272 chance of being the victim of a crime, and an even lower chance of being the victim of a violent crime.

Didn’t we tell you these locals are lucky folks?

6. Harahan

Safest Places in Louisiana

Source: Flickr user Dystopos

This city had some truly amazing stats. In 2012, this place had one rape, three robberies, and nine assaults per 100,000 people, making it the fifth least violent place on our list.

Where this place really shone was in property crime, where it had the lowest score. Given that it only had six vehicle thefts, 27 burglaries, and a mere 86 thefts per 100,000 people, that makes a lot of sense.

The reason that this place was not higher on the list was that it had one murder reported in 2012. Still, besides that blemish, this place was incredibly safe. So safe, that locals had only a 1 in 752 chance of being the victim of a crime, which was the lowest chance on our list.

7. Zachary

Safest Places in Louisiana

Source: Flickr user GJ Charlet III

Though it was the biggest city in our top 10, and at 15,092 people, this place still has a lot of small-town pride and love.

If you need more evidence than the no murders and no robberies per 100,000 people in 2012, you can just look to the four rapes and nine vehicle thefts per 100,000 people. Those stats add up to this place having the 11th lowest crime overall.

More than that, Zachary has a lot going for it. It’s been rated a top school district, a great town for families, and more.

Besides these accolades, the fact that locals have merely a 1 in 227 chance of being the victim of a crime is just icing on the cake.

8. Morgan City

Safest Places in Louisiana

Source: Flickr user bird flew

Morgan city definitely knows how to keep its locals happy and secure. Seven rapes, 11 robbies, and 28 assaults per 100,000 might seem a little high compared to others in our top 10, but this is still a pretty darn safe city.

With The 10th lowest overall crime and only a 1 in 231 chance of being the victim of a crime, locals should breathe easy and know that they’re just fine.

On top of that, the property crime here was very low. A total of 66 burglaries and 10 assaults per 100,000 people were all that were reported in 2012.

If you need any more convincing that Morgan City is a great place to call home, just sample the local food—it’s to die for.

9. Breaux Bridge

Safest Places in Louisiana

Source: Flickr user Carol H

Breaux Bridge, also called Le Pont-Breaux, had some pretty stunning safety numbers.

No rapes were reported here in 2012, and merely three vehicle thefts, one robbery, and 15 assaults per 100,000 people were reported. In fact, this place had the fourth lowest property crime and the sixth lowest violent crime that we looked at.

There was one murder here, which is why it didn’t rank higher on the list. Still, compared to bigger cities, where there were many that year, this place is a safe haven for all. In fact, if you lived there, you’d have only a 1 in 413 chance of being the victim of a crime.

10. Westwego

Safest Places in Louisiana

Source: Flickr user Jimmy Emerson, DVM

Besides having a great name, this place plays it cool in the safety department.

This New Orleans suburb may be 10th on our list, but it’s hardly last in safety categories. Westwego had the second lowest property crime and the second lowest total crime, as well as the 10th lowest violent crime.

With merely six vehicle thefts and 43 burglaries per 100,000 in 2012, it’s really no surprise this spot garnered that ranking.

It did have one murder in 2012, but it also had few robberies and very few rapes that year, thus the low violent crime ranking.

All that culminated in locals having only a one in 490 chance of being the victim of a crime, which is definitely worthy of a top 10 ranking.

You’ll Fall In Love With Louisiana, All Over Again

If you weren’t totally enamored with Louisiana before, a trip to any one of these safe havens just might push you over the edge. Lovely communities, low crime, and small-city pride all ring clear in these spots, whether you’re a local or just a visitor.

Every place has its flaws, sure, but if you’re looking for a place you can feel secure, whether you’re alone or with a family, you’ll feel right at home in any of these small cities.

Safest Places In Louisiana

These Are The 10 Safest Places In Louisiana – Movoto.


If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter @ArlenBennyCenac
Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.


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