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Robichaux: Get it while it’s hot: Autumn 2019 River Parishes Magazine is here

Ongoing traffic issues caused business to dwindle at Spuddy’s Cajun Foods in Vacherie last year, leading owner Maitland “Spuddy” Faucheux III to seriously consider closing the restaurant he’d poured his heart and soul into.

Spuddy’s passion was re-invigorated by a chance meeting that has allowed him to share authentic Louisiana recipes and cooking techniques with the world.

In less than one year, Spuddy’s new Cajun Cooking Experience has turned visitors from the United Kingdom, Austria and other points around the globe into chefs in his kitchen. Through cooking jambalaya, Andouille and gumbo, guests experience the cooking process with all five senses and learn about the River Parishes’ mixing pot of cultures in the process.

Spuddy’s story is among the spotlight features in the Autumn 2019 edition of River Parishes Magazine, L’OBSERVATEUR’s quarterly publication.

The newest edition shares the stories of people who have made an impact in the River Region.

The name Ed Reed has been etched for all time in a lot of different places over the years, from the University of Miami Hall of Fame to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Most recently, Ed Reed’s name was etched onto the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. His name also lives in the minds of local football fans that watched Reed grow up in St. Charles Parish and begin his amazing journey on the Destrehan High School football field.

Reed is certainly proud of these accomplishments, but there’s one more place he wants his name to be — on a nice little park in his former hometown.

Another spotlight story centers on St. John the Baptist Parish.

When Dr. DeLisa Brown Smith ran for Parish President four years ago at 30 years old, she was a trailblazer for the millennial generation as the youngest female to run for the position.

While she did not win the election, she can look back and say with certainty that she won the race. In addition to inspiring young people to be politically active through the Something New Movement, Smith has risen to new heights through service in the River Parishes and beyond.

Smith has earned respect on the national level as the youngest board member on the National Congress of Black Women. On the local level, she’s been highly involved as a minister, educator and nonprofit volunteer.

One of the River Parishes Magazine stories links the past to the present.

While Eliza “Liza” Nebbit spent most of her life at St. Michael Convent in St. James Parish in the 1800s, she was not a Catholic nun or a child sent to the academy to receive a religious education; She was enslaved, and records indicate as many as 80 enslaved persons lived and worked at St. Michael between its opening in 1828 and emancipation in 1865.

The slaveholding history of religious entities in South Louisiana is seldom talked about and difficult to trace. The St. Michael Convent building is gone, yet not entirely erased from history. The Religious of the Sacred Heart have not forgotten the past.

A committee on slavery, accountability and reconciliation is searching for the descendants of the enslaved people of St. Michael Convent to help right the wrongs of the past.

The Autumn 2019 River Parishes magazine also features a “Blast From the Past” Pictorial, parting shots taken at community events throughout 2019, a comprehensive restaurant listing and a special update on LaPlace’s own Tom Boesen, a 65-year-old who recently traveled to Las Vegas and ranked first in the World Master International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Championship.

Pick up your copy now at 116 Newspaper Drive in LaPlace (behind Destiny Christian Center on Main Street).

Copies of the magazine will soon be delivered to several businesses across the River Parishes. A full list of locations will be posted in print and online.

Brooke Robichaux is news editor at L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at brooke.robichaux@lobservateur.com or 985-652-9545.