Come out today to help St. John’s K-9s

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2008

By Kevin Chiri

Even if you like to sleep in a little bit on Saturday, I’m assuming that when you read this you will still have time to head down to the Donut Hole on Airline Highway today, and get your car, truck or SUV washed.

It’s not just for a good cause, but for a great cause, since the LaPlace Rotary Club is holding a benefit car wash from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today in the parking lot by the Donut Hole.

The proceeds will help to protect the great K-9 dogs used by the St. John Sheriff’s Office, since the Rotary Club will donate all of the money we take in so the S.O. can purchase bulletproof vests for the dogs.

L’Observateur headed up a big drive several years ago to buy new bulletproof vests for all the officers on the force. The cost for those vests, as I recall it, was about $450 each.

So when the Rotary Club decided to use its annual car wash to try and buy bulletproof vests for the dogs, we were a little surprised to find out how much more expensive the vests were for the animals, as opposed to the people.

Vests for the dogs cost close to $1,000 each, so you can see we will have to wash a lot of cars today.

I say “we” since I will be out there washing cars myself, as a member of the Rotary Club, and hope to see you all there.

We are not setting a price to have your vehicle washed, but are simply asking for donations to help protect these wonderful animals that are so valuable to the Sheriff’s Office in the work they do to help keep all of us safe.

Hopefully I see you today, and make sure to bring all your cars to get ‘em clean.

Congratulations to Dominic “Mixie” Arcuri on the opening of the new Whitney Bank, located at 465 Belle Terre Blvd. in LaPlace.

Mixie is the new branch manager and you can imagine he was pleased as punch during a special grand opening and official ribbon cutting ceremony they had on Thursday evening.

There has frequently been a lot of talk among business people I know in town, referring to what seems like a lot of banks in LaPlace. Especially when you look at the size of the parish, it just seems like we have an extraordinary number of banks or lending institutions of different types. And yet every time you turn around, it almost seems like another one is opening up.

For Whitney, an extremely well known, longtime institution from New Orleans, to open a branch out here in St. John Parish, it was good news for their already established customers.

I know Mixie is still trying to figure out how to grab a little more of the market share away from the competition, since that is, of course, what any good business would be trying to do. And I must say, I think he struck on something when I stopped by the grand opening on Thursday.

When you came into the main lobby of the bank, there it was at Teller 1 and Teller 2, a most unusual feature that the bank had begun, and I was quite honestly, stunned at the prospect of doing this in a bank.

For that matter, Mixie directed me right to the teller locations, letting me know that the special feature was “wine at Teller Number One,” or you could choose “beer at Teller Number 2.”

Wow, I was thinking, I’ll bet there are a lot of people who will switch banks in a hurry if they know there is a feature like that every time they walk in.

But so sorry. I later found out that Mixie was actually only doing that for the grand opening. Ohhhhhh!!!!! So unfortunately I guess he will have to hustle up new customers another way, since I want to be very clear that there WILL NOT be wine and beer every time you come in the doors. Still, I think they might want to rethink this, since it was quite popular at the grand opening on Thursday.

Seriously though, the new Whitney Bank, built by our local contractor superstar Kent Liliedahl with Aegis Construction, is a beautiful building that should make a lot of local folks happy. It seems that Whitney Senior Vice-President David Andignac was explaining to me how many customers they actually already have out here, who drive in to New Orleans area locations, and have been begging for a local branch for years.

The bank is approaching its 125th anniversary since it began, and has been open for business here in LaPlace for several weeks already. Stop by and say hello to Mixie, although I don’t think he’s got the wine and beer counters working anymore.

Did you read my column on Wednesday about the bananas?

It’s amazing what I get feedback on, and for some reason, that silly column earlier this week, reporting on the benefits of bananas, seemed to get a lot of attention.

One such caller to the office, my good friend Juanita Louque of LaPlace, wanted to add a little tip for folks.

Juanita, a sharp 65-years-of-age, began telling me about something known as “Green Bags,” that you apparently can buy at the grocery store, and they are used to keep your fruit very fresh.

I mean fruit like bananas, apples, pears….you get it?

Juanita, who has been married to husband Lester for many years, said she keeps Lester pretty happy by using these “green bags.” Apparently they have something about them, which keeps fruit very, very fresh for many days, if you just keep the fruit in these bags once you bring it home. I had it confirmed from a number of other ladies around the office that the bags, do, in fact, work really well.

And get this! Juanita brought me a couple of bags and dropped them off at the office so I could try them! How nice is that?

Juanita is obviously someone who knows her fruits since she and the hubby bought one of those “Vita Mix” machines that lets you drop almost anything into this blender type contraption, and buzz it all into a liquid that you drink. It’s obviously super healthy for you, so of course that means I won’t go anywhere near it.

But as for the bags, they seem pretty cool. I’m going to let my wife use them on the fruits I keep at my house!

Kevin Chiri is Publisher of L’Observateur and can be reached at (985) 652-9545 or at