Real People

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 13, 1999

STACEY PLAISANCE / L’Observateur / March 13, 1999

LULING – Cultural diversity and acceptance in the community is what made Regina Hickman fall in love with St. Charles Parish and decide to raise herfamily there more than 16 years ago.

Originally from Wiggins, Miss., Regina said the flat marshlands throughoutthe parish were no match for the rolling hills landscape she was used to in her hometown. But the swampy little paradise of Luling had more in storefor Regina than she had ever imagined.

Regina and her husband of more than 23 years, Anthony, quickly got involved at Luling’s First Baptist Church upon moving to the area, and Regina conducted religion classes there.

Eventually feeling that she wanted more out of her religious experience, Regina became a pastor for Gretna United Methodist.

Having been raised in a fundamental Baptist household, Regina said she learned at a young age the value of church and helping people. She expandedher spiritual horizons beyond the Baptist community in order to reach out to more people, she said.

“Preaching and counseling is my calling in life,” Regina said. “I enjoy theMethodist church because the theology is accepting of diversity and allows room for diversity in a freer atmosphere.”Regina said Luling is full of people with culturally diverse backgrounds, and community members are very accepting of one another’s differences.

“One of the things I like is that people know what’s important out here,” she said. “People accept you for who you are, and I love it.”As a mother of three children, with her youngest child being 4, Regina said she feels fortunate to have the opportunity to raise her children in St.

Charles Parish, despite what outsiders may say.

“People look at this part of the country and sometimes only see crime and the bad things because we neighbor New Orleans, but it’s a great place for a diverse upbringing,” she said.

Regina has acquired a variety of talents and educational backgrounds in her lifetime. Having attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community Collegeand the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn., and havinggraduated from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Regina enjoys sharing her knowledge and talents with others.

She sometimes gives piano lessons to friends and family who are eager to learn, and Regina has also mastered playing the organ and guitar.

Aside from playing musical instruments, in her spare time Regina loves to read and garden.

“Gardening is therapeutic, and I would recommend it to anyone,” she said.

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