Volume 2, Edition 10
A Word from the
First Lady of Louisiana
So, for many years, I have had a seasonal tree. Of course, like the start of all seasonal trees, it begins at Christmas. You stare at how lovely the Christmas Tree is with all its decorations and the lights that glitter and twinkle.
After bedtime, when our children were younger, I used to go and sit in the room with the tree adorned and glowing. The shining Christmas tree brought a sense of peace and stillness in the silence and darkness at the end of the day. The silence of those moments seemed to bring joy and brightness to my soul. I always dreaded the taking down of the Christmas tree. So, this particular time I decided to change the tree into a Mardi Gras tree like many of you do every year. Why not, I was able to keep the tree up longer, and the sparkling lights were still a part of my evening ritual.
Mardi Gras seemed to come and go so fast, and then there was Lent, Easter, Amite Oyster Festival, Spring, birthdays, graduations, Summer, 4th of July, back to school, football season, Fall and Thanksgiving, then it was time for Christmas again. Each season brought a new look and an opportunity to add a new ornament to the seasonal tree. My children always dreaded the Back to School Tree. They would say, “Mom, don’t put up that tree just yet!”
Well, it’s time for my Back to School Tree. Guess what? This time it is me. I’m the one that didn’t want to change the tree. I was stuck on the Patriotic Tree that I put up in June in celebration of the 4th. I was stuck in a rut. Sad, disappointed, stuck in limbo, trying to make sense of all that is happening and wondering why so many are still not complying. Why is the virus not going away?
I listen to my husband weekly on tv, on the radio, in video conferences, and meeting after meeting saying the same thing. “Folks, it’s that simple: wear your mask, wash your hands and we will flatten the curve and reduce the virus.”
Friends, I am a teacher. We have been teaching children, our students, to wash their hands and practice good hygiene practices FOREVER. Teachers give students rules to follow in class, in the hallway, in the lunchroom, on the playground, and the bus forever. WHY, you ask? Because that’s how we teach students to all stay healthy, safe, and to follow the Golden Rule, “Treat others like you want to be treated.” It’s not a new idea or concept. Everyone, reading this email/blog, knows it’s true.
So, what’s happening? Did we all forget what we were taught in school: to follow the rules?
Did we all forget what we were taught in church: to love your neighbor as yourself?
Did we forget the Golden Rule?
A friend recently sent me a text:
The most precious thing came from my son’s mouth this morning, waking to get ready for church.
Son: Mom, if everyone would do what Governor Edwards says, we wouldn’t have to wear the masks to church anymore, would we? And we could go back to playing our sports?
Mom: Yes. That is correct.
Son: Mom, why do grownups act like ____? (a child in his grade)
________ always breaks the rules, and we all get in trouble and get recess taken away.
My friend went on to say, “We love you, and we stand proudly with you. Stay Strong, Friend!”
I was so thankful for that message and the many emails and letters of encouragement we receive daily. I’m grateful for the poll that says that over 68% believe that John Bel is doing the right thing and that wearing masks are essential.
So, thank you to those following the rules and trying to be a good citizen. It’s you that makes life better for all of us. To all others, our RECESS has now been taken away. Yes, it’s possible that it’s your name that should be in the blank above.
Back to my seasonal tree, the patriotic decorations came down, and it remained un-decorated. Every time I saw the tree, it looked sad, kind of like my mood. It reminded me of the new “NO Season.” No coming and going, no friends around, no parties, no proms, no weddings, no baby or wedding showers, (well for some of us that is) no hugging, and the list goes on.
However, my staff decided to take over the NO Season Tree. I walked into the room, and it was decorated. It was decorated much differently, decorated for a season that we have all come to know, the MASK SEASON. It made me smile! There were masks all over the seasonal tree. It was bright and colorful and brought back some of that joy I have been missing.
My friends, like all holidays, some people participate, and some people don’t participate. Their reasons are for many different personal and religious beliefs, and that’s okay. But for this season, the Mask Season, we should all participate. Why, do you ask?
-Because wearing a Mask and following the correct mitigations, make us all healthy and safe.
-Because we should all want to be good citizens and be an excellent example for our children and others.
-Because we should all want to follow the Golden Rule and be a good neighbor to others.
Being obedient and following rules can be difficult but in many cases, it is lifesaving, both physically and spiritually. To those who have decided not to do what’s right and not follow the rules, I have lots to say. But, I will refrain and remember the saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
I will say this: We ALL have to answer for our actions, so I pray your actions and mine are pleasing to the one above.
Dear Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy.
May I live and serve to be an excellent
example for others of your light within me.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Words from Joni Smith, 2017 LA State Teacher of the Year,
Science Content Coach of Central Community Schools
As we enter into our fall semester of school, we will face a mountain of unprecedented challenges brought on by our invisible enemy, COVID-19. Let us not be overcome by our fears. Instead, let’s unite as a village to support our students, giving them the courage to grow both socially and emotionally through these uncertain times.
Throughout my childhood, I can remember hearing adults say, “It takes a village to raise children.” Now that I’m an adult, I would most definitely agree. This conclusion leads me to question, what exactly is a village? In my opinion, a village is a collective community aimed for one common goal. A village strives to improve the situation for all involved. A village also seeks to cultivate a community with a pursuit to reciprocate that sense of belonging and mutual responsibility to their children.
LOUISIANA FIRST FOUNDATION
Yes Mam, No Mam, Thank you Mam = Teach MAM!
The Fun Zone
The Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation website has lots of fun activities for learning. Click the link below to get the “Scoop on the Coop”, play “Mural Search” and download the coloring book pages. We hope you have fun exploring these fun and educational web pages!
Click here to access the “Fun Zone”:
Click here for the home page:
Click here to support the Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation: http://governorsmansion.org/get-involved/
Women’s Health Blog
The Elder Southern Lady, COVID-19,
and an inability to Socialize
This year has been a rollercoaster of challenges for us all. It has been more than an exercise of adaptation, resiliency, compassion, and temperance. Those of us born and raised in the south often look to our elders for advice on how to “weather a storm”. They have survived everything that should have killed them, and outlived most of the people that may have tried to kill them. They are the strong towers of our community and deserve honor and the utmost respect.
PEOPLE OF LOUISIANA Making a Difference
Thomas Brothers Give Back
The statistics are startling. Drowning is the leading cause of death for toddlers. Seventy-nine percent of children in low-income homes do not know how to swim. African American children are five and a half times more likely to drown.
Physics and Chemistry Teacher Iowa High School;
2021 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalist
When considering how to teach through a pandemic, I find myself pondering how I might continue to effectively teach students while also keeping them safe. They will be physically distanced, masked, and possibly learning from home at times.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Photographer Gene Russell
Gene Russell knows what it means to serve. He’s currently a photographer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA), primarily photographing Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, his guests and his events in the nation’s capital. Russell, with his jovial personality, jokes and says, “I’m kind of a big deal!”
Owner, Wanderlust by Abby
Abby Bullock’s boutique started on wheels! From the rear of a 2012 Toyota 4Runner to be exact, but that’s not quite where the story begins. Originally from Shreveport, Abby moved to Dallas to pursue a degree in Fashion Merchandising from the University of Texas-Denton. After she graduated, she pursued a career working as a buyer’s representative at Dallas Market and several large department stores.
DONG PHUONG ORIENTAL BAKERY
Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery
(Vietnamese: Đông Phương, literally “The Orient”) is a Vietnamese retail and wholesale bakery, restaurant, and catering business in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is known for supplying baguette style bread for many of the city’s restaurants that offer banh mi or other sandwiches, and has its own popular banh mi counter. The bakery, along with the nearby Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church, were fixtures of the Vietnamese community in New Orleans even before surviving the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. It is located at 14207 Chef Menteur Highway in the “Little Vietnam” section of Eastern New Orleans. It is attached to a sit-down restaurant of the same name that serves a variety of Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, including phở, bún thịt nướng, bún riêu, and bánh hỏi.
Something To Discern
The First Dogs are
trying to keep cool
in the shade
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Delery has lived there all of her life except during undergraduate school and a brief stint in Seattle, WA. She is a mother to four boys, ranging in ages from 21 to 16, and they are the heart and soul of her life.
After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications, she went on to receive a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Louisiana State University. Her volunteer work has mostly evolved from issues that have affected her personally. Actively engaged in disability rights advocacy, Delery has testified numerous times in the Louisiana Legislature regarding issues that affect persons with developmental disabilities. She served as the chair of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council, worked for seven years directing regional advocacy efforts and is a graduate of Louisiana’s Partners In Policymaking.