American Press: Your Best News And Advertising Source - Scene Features American Press: The Only Local Daily Newspaper In Southwest Louisiana. en-US Copyright (c) October, 2016 American Press. All rights reserved <![CDATA[Events offer two ways to learn, have fun at LC Civic Center this weekend]]> By John Guidroz / American Press


Children can show their creative side with a variety of art projects at this year’s ArtsFest, set for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Lake Charles Civic Center Exhibition Hall.

The free event, hosted annually by the Arts Council of Southwest Louisiana and the city of Lake Charles, is for children ages 4 through 12. Charla Blake, Arts Council community development coordinator, said this year’s event is expected to bring around 500 to 600 children.

This year’s theme, Blake said, is “Under the Sea.” She said there will be 18 art stations where children can make pottery, paint, sculpt, draw and work on a mural. The theme has children making a sea turtle by weaving, painting fish and making coral reefs, among other activities.

“We know there are a lot of kids who don’t have access to art programs or have time to be creative,” Blake said.

Some of the art booths are sponsored by the council, while others are sponsored by local nonprofit agencies and businesses.

ArtsFest also features entertainment, including sing-alongs, a performance from the Lake Area Ballet Theatre, storytelling, an instrument petting zoo, and an interactive performance from Playground Players.

Culture Fest

The sixth annual Culture Fest takes place Friday and Saturday at the Civic Center and includes 30 cultural booths representing many different countries.

The event, hosted by Common Ground Louisiana, gives residents a chance to learn more about the cultures of different countries. Pat Kelty, project manager, said the booths feature art, music, clothing and literature from different countries.

“We find that when you know more about a person’s culture, the more tolerant you are,” she said. “People realize there are as many similarities as differences.”

The event kicks off with a performance by the Vancouver-based fusion band Delhi 2 Dublin. Kelty describes the band as a “mix of global music from India to Ireland.” The band takes the stage at the Civic Center amphitheater at 7 p.m. Local band Cookies-n-Cream will perform at 6:30 p.m.

The festival continues 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday on the second and third floors of the Civic Center. Kelty said McNeese State University students will put on an international fashion show at 2 p.m.

The World Caf? will offer an assortment of cuisines from local restaurants and vendors. She said there will be a “Kidz Zone” where children can hear stories, listen to music and watch dancing.

For more information on ArtsFest, call the Arts Council at 439-2787. For more on Culture Fest, call 409-9636 or 377-8248.


Thu, 20 Oct 2016 14:02:07 CST 13371108 at
<![CDATA['The Rocky Horror Show' returns]]> By Emily Fontenot / American Press

The downtown event of the season is back by popular demand.

“The Rocky Horror Show” gained a global cult following in the 1970s, and in Lake Charles the fandom lives on. Over 400 people packed the theater at the Central School Arts and Humanities Center for nearly all four performances of “The Rocky Horror Show” last year.

Transvestite scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter, his muscular creation Rocky, unsuspecting sweethearts Brad and Janet, and a slew of other characters will “do the time warp” together again in this musical spectacle on Halloween weekend.

KC Productions is putting on the event, directed by founder Keith Chamberlain, for the second year in a row. Chamberlain said some cast members are new and many are returning. He described the cast as having “an enormous amount of talent.”

“The music is fantastic, and everyone can sing really well,” he said.

He said that aside from new cast members and a few changes to the set, the performance will follow closely in line with the classic performance that audience members know and love.

One important element of the show is participation, Chamberlain said. Audience members will shout back words and throw items into the air at certain points in the show, as is tradition.

People can buy participation bags at the door for $5, but are not allowed to bring in their own items. The bag includes bird seed and bubbles for the wedding scenes, a newspaper head cover for the rain scene, rolls of toilet paper to throw, noise makers, and glow sticks for the castle scene, along with other familiar items.

“It’s fun because of the music and the characters,” he said. “It’s been a huge cult classic for years.”

La Voglia Ristorante Italiano will also provide food for purchase before, at intermission and after each show. Alcohol will be available for ages 21-and-up with a valid ID. T-shirts with the iconic red lips will also be sold at each show.

Chamberlain said “The Rocky Horror Show” deals with mature subject matter, and suggested audience members take into account the show’s crude language and thematic material before attending. He said he wouldn’t recommend it for children.

Performances run Oct. 27-29 at 7:30 p.m. The final midnight performance will be Saturday the 29th at midnight. All performances are at Central School, 809 Kirby St.

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:54:01 CST 13371089 at
<![CDATA[BBQ Cook-off & Praise Festival benefits students ]]> Crystal Stevenson / American Press

The seventh annual Holy Smoke BBQ Cook-off & Praise Festival will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the DeQuincy Railroad Museum Pavilion.

Admission is free and organizer Darlene Hooker said participants can expect to have their physical hunger met and their spiritual appetites filled.

“Teams will compete for a trophy and prizes, and while they’re cooking there’s a praise festival where we’ll have choirs, praise dancers, preaching, gospel and inspirational music,” she said.

Hooker said Tamesha Pruett, a singer and songwriter from Brenham, Texas, will headline the praise festival.

“Tamesha believes that her purpose is to reach God’s people through music and inspiration,” Hooker said.

Judging for the barbecue cook-off will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Hooker said food trucks, sweet booths, craft vendors and informational stations will be set up on site.

There will also be activities for children, she said.

“It’s family-friendly and we have the famous miniature railroad train available for rides,” she said.

Hooker said the annual event is a fundraiser for the Harry L. Hooker Sr. Memorial Fund, which was founded by her husband.

“This is our main fundraiser and through that fund we do a back- to-school drive in August where we give away free backpacks, the police department sponsors a pool party and we give them a hot dog luncheon. We also have a youth uniform give-away.”

She said the fund is “very active in the DeQuincy community.”

“We go into the schools, share a meal with the students in DeQuincy and we share a word of faith with them,” she said.

For more information on thefestival, call 786-6265 or 499-7165.

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:53:59 CST 13371088 at
<![CDATA[Two exhibits to open at Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center]]> By Marilyn Monroe / American Press

An opening reception for two exhibits will be 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, in the Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center, 1001 Ryan St.

“Art on a String: Asian Kites in Flight” features about 100 kites from throughout Asia and will be located on the third floor of the center.

“This is a very beautiful and colorful exhibit featuring a variety of kites from about 10 countries,” said Denise Fasske, director of cultural events.

The exhibit will include Korean, Hawaiian, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Sri Lankan kites.

“The largest kite in the exhibition is a 95-foot Centipede with whirling eyes crafted by Li Shang-Pei, grand kite master of Taiwan,” reads a news release.

Fasske said historical information about the craft will also be included in the display.

“Many were made by kite makers whose ancestors created a particular kite design and taught the craft to his family, who then passed the tradition to successive generations,” reads the news release.

“For thousands of years across Asia, kites played a role in communication, religious ceremonies, military reconnaissance, and even fishing.”

The exhibit is on a national tour by the Blair-Murrah Exhibition Organization.

“Wild Arctic” and “7/10ths Blue” are two photographic collections from award-winning photographer and Lake Charles resident Keith Monroe. The images capture arctic and tropical scenes.

“Polar bears, harp seals, great white sharks and clown fish are just a few of the highlighted creatures,” reads the news release.

Fasske said Monroe is an “underwater photographer who has traveled all over the world.” His images, she said, have appeared in numerous publications, including the cover of Nature’s Best Photography Magazine, and he has worked with National Geographic photographers and other high-end shooters in photo projects around the globe.

Wild Arctic includes images from Monroe’s recent excursion to the Arctic. There he recorded the fragile environment from the floating icepacks of the Arctic Ocean to the glacier graveyards of southern Greenland.

“He wanted to inspire a greater appreciation for the Arctic and an awareness of climate change,” said Fasske of the work.

The 7/10ths Blue display, whose name stands for the percent of surface water to dry land in the world, focuses on Monroe’s work in the depths of tropical and subtropical waters from the Gulf of Mexico to the Coral Triangle of the southwestern Pacific.

Both collections capture sensitive areas of the seas that are often challenged in survival from both natural and manmade events.

“Conservation through personal stewardship and awareness is the cornerstone of the message Monroe tries to share photographically,” said Fasske.

The photographer will be available to meet and greet guests at the Friday opening, but he will also hold a free public lecture Nov. 10. on the second floor of the center. Doors will open for that event at 5:30 p.m.

Monroe’s photographic collections as well as the Art on a String exhibit will be on display until Dec. 31.

For more information, call (337) 491-9147 or visit

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:53:57 CST 13371087 at
<![CDATA[Last Resort car show rolls into Jennings ]]> By Doris Maricle / American Press

JENNINGS — The Last Resort car show, now in its ninth year, will roll into town this weekend, showcasing a variety of cars, trucks and motorcycles.

“The show is open to all makes and models,” event organizer Stuart Daigle said. “We bring in anything from old classics, motorcycles, lifted, lowered trucks, SUVs, sports and import cars. We even have some big rigs and special interest like side-by-sides.”

The event will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, at the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park, off Interstate 10 at Exit 64.

“I have lived here all my life,” Daigle said.

“Not only do we have a great location, but I am happy to be able to bring something like this to the community. We bring in a great amount of tourism dollars and help promote Jeff Davis Parish.”

The show draws thousands of spectators and over 500 cars, trucks and motorcycles and has gained national and some world event coverage.

“I have people traveling from California and New York. We even have some flying in from other countries,”Daigle said.

“Last Resort has become one of the most popular shows in the minitruckin’ community.”Classics, antiques and street rods will be on display for viewing and judging throughout the weekend. Vehicles will be judged by the work performed, overall execution, cleanliness and quality.

Early drive-thru judging will begin at noon Friday, Oct. 21.

The Top 100 awards, with 10 specialty awards, will be presented at 3 p.m. Sunday on the main stage.

Vehicle registration and vendor setup will be at 9 a.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday. Registration Saturday is $40 per vehicle.

Games will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. They will include human wheelbarrow, frozen T-shirt, pizza eating and a washers tournament.

Vendors will sell food and drinks, including lemonade and snow cones, along with clothing and vehicle accessories.

Admission is $10 a day or $15 for a weekend pass. Children 12 and under will be admitted free.



Follow Doris Maricle on Twitter at

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:53:55 CST 13371086 at
<![CDATA[Rice threshing event Saturday]]> By Doris Maricle / American Press

WELSH — Area farmers will recreate the threshing and binding of rice with antique farm equipment during the Old Time Rice Threshing event 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Welsh Municipal Airport, on Rowson Road.

"The event demonstrates to the public how rice was harvested many years ago, before combines," organizer Suzie Marcantel said. "Today’s technologies are far more advanced, but remember, it had to start somewhere."

The Welsh Threshermen's Association will demonstrate how rice was harvested in the late 1800s and mid-1900s.

"The threshing has been held on and off over the years," Marcantel said. "It was off for a long time until we revived it back in 2006."

Many members of the Welsh Threshermen's Association, also known as the Old Timers Thresher Club, had left the group.

"Then my generation realized we were old enough to pick up where they left off and started things back," she said.

The group has about 30 members who help organize the event.

Farmers say the event is a celebration of the past and the turn-of-the century farm families who once lived in towns like Welsh.

"It's important to us to show the public how rice was harvested in the old days and to keep our equipment going," Marcantel said.

Most of the equipment has been maintained by the threshermen's group and is used to cut a small field of rice at the Welsh airport, Marcantel said.

"It was just something I did growing up," she said. "I loved to play in the straw and see all the old tractors and equipment."

Several antique tractors and steam engines will be operated during the event. Others will be on display.

During the event, rice will be cut with a McCormick-Deering binder pulled by an antique tractor, tying it into small bundles. The bundles will be stacked into larger bundles called shocks.

In the past, the shocks were collected after a couple of weeks and fed into tractor-powered threshers.

Threshers separated the rice from the stalk, and the rough rice was bagged by hand with binder twine and sack-sewing needles.

"It is a very interesting and time-consuming procedure, allowing one to realize how much is taken for granted in current farming practices," Marcantel said.

Children will be able to play in a large pile of rice straw and ride on the wagons.

Cajun musicians are encouraged to entertain during the event.

Vendors will sell jambalaya, cracklins, desserts and crafts. Admission is free, and parking is available on-site.

For more information, call Marcantel at 337-602-8300 or 337-789-8001.


Follow Doris Maricle on Twitter at


Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:53:53 CST 13371085 at
<![CDATA[Jennings Alive offers family fun]]> By Doris Maricle / American Press

JENNINGS — The 36th annual Jennings Alive Arts and Crafts Festival will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, in the city’s historic downtown area.

The event will feature live entertainment, children’s activities and vendors along three blocks of Main Street.

“There’s lots of fun for the whole family from entertainment all around to crafts and more,” city spokeswoman Robin Touchet said. “There will be plenty to see and do throughout the day for everyone.”

Festival coordinator Connie Hebert said the festival is like a family reunion for many.

“There’s a lot of people you haven’t seen in a year or more there,” Hebert said.

New to this year’s event will be street musicians, who will perform throughout the festival.

“Normally we have bands performing, but this year we will have single musicians performing on the corners, similar to New Orleans,” Touchet said.

Dance troupes and cheerleaders will perform throughout the day near Founder’s Park beginning at 10 a.m.

The Children and Youth Theatre will show “The Wizard of Oz” at 2 and 7 p.m. in the Strand Theater, 432 N. Main St. Tickets are $5, with all proceeds benefiting the group.

In conjunction with the movie, the group will hold a scarecrow contest. Awards for first, second and third place will be announced at both movie showings.

More than 60 arts and crafts vendors will line up from Third Street to Fifth Street selling jewelry, woodcrafts, soaps, candles, clothing items, patio furniture, monogrammed items and more.

“It’s a good time to get started on your Christmas shopping,” Hebert said.

The Jeff Davis Arts Council will present Art World near Founder’s Park; it will feature free arts and crafts activities for children.

LoLo the Clown will return to the festival with face painting and balloon art.

School, church and nonprofit groups will sell food, including hot dogs, hamburgers and alligator sausage. Vietnam veterans will have coffee and biscuits in the morning.

Admission to the open-air street festival is free, as are most activities.

Free parking is available within walking distance of the festival.

For more information, call 821-5532.


Follow Doris Maricle on Twitter at

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:52:51 CST 13371083 at
<![CDATA[No-brainer: $300K campaign to rescue Dorothy's ruby slippers]]> By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — It will take more than three clicks of the heels to preserve the ruby slippers that whisked Dorothy back to Kansas at the end of "The Wizard of Oz."

The slippers, which for more than 30 years have been one of the most beloved items at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, were crafted almost 80 years ago by the MGM Studios prop department. Like most movie props, they weren't built to last. Now, the frayed shoes aren't even ruby-colored anymore — they're more like a dull auburn.

On Monday, the Smithsonian asked the public to help save the slippers, launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise $300,000. In addition to keeping the shoes' color from deteriorating further, the money will go toward a technologically advanced display case that will preserve them for future generations.

The Smithsonian's museums are federally funded, but the institution frequently solicits private and corporate contributions for major projects that its budget doesn't cover. This is the Smithsonian's second Kickstarter campaign. In 2015, the National Air and Space Museum raised $700,000 through the crowd-funding site to preserve the spacesuit that Neil Armstrong wore when he walked on the moon.

"This particular pair of ruby slippers really belongs to the American people, and so we thought as we sought support that we would invite the public to join us on this journey to help preserve them for the next generation," said Melinda Machado, a museum spokeswoman.

The shoes are the most recognizable prop for the beloved 1939 musical, their deep red hue dazzling audiences when the movie made its dramatic transition from black-and-white to Technicolor. They have been on near-constant display since they were anonymously donated to the museum in 1979.

Preserving them is more complicated than it might appear, Machado said. The slippers contain a dozen different materials. The gelatin-based sequins are a relic from the infancy of plastic. They also include glass beads and red felt on the soles that was used to muffle their sound when Judy Garland wore them during dance sequences.

"We're going to have to do a lot of scientific research to come up with a treatment plan that is compatible with all of the different materials," Machado said.

As of Tuesday morning, donors had pledged more than $38,000 on Kickstarter. If the museum does not reach its $300,000 goal in 30 days, no one will be charged. Donations start at $1 and, depending how much they give, contributors can receive rewards including T-shirts and tote bags created by William Ivey Long, a Tony award-winning costume designer.

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 15:11:06 CST 13362106 at
<![CDATA[Vicki B’s Cafe is a timeless diner experience ]]> By Emily Fontenot / American Press

I took a trip this weekend to a place I’ve always dreamed of visiting.

The air was dry and crisp, the roads were clean, and the people were fit. Retirees strolled downtown with their Shih Tzus and their cargo pants, and young folks whizzed by on mountain bikes. The buildings were open, geometric and clean.

It was the scenic mountain-town of Colorado Springs, Colo., where people have the space and resources to lead clean and sensible lives.

The beauty and order of it all did appeal to me at first — the way the yellow aspens fleck the hillside really makes the place look like a Thomas Kinkade painting. But there was something missing among the idyllic scenery and immaculate buildings. Something, well, human.

I missed the wonky, tilted houses of New Orleans. The occasional dilapidated eyesore that sits boldly next to the Starbucks. I missed the nonsensical, the whimsical, the visual reminders that people are unique, and that idyllic isn’t always better.

This affinity for individuality has brought my parents to grief many a time, when I’ve taken home a particularly gaudy piece of clothing, or spouted a new theory. But I’ve come to realize that everyone has a need to be individual somewhere inside that goes against the need to fit in. Some just have it more than others.

After visiting Colorado Springs, I was left with the thought that some places seem to value conformity more than individuality, while others seem to value individuality more than conformity. I’m happy to say Lake Charles is one of the latter.

These suspicions were confirmed Wednesday when I pulled up to a new restaurant on Lakeshore Drive, Vicki B’s Cafe.

Right next to the tall, brown-walled First Federal Bank and the surrounding downtown office buildings sat a small, teal-and-red building lined in black-and-white tiles. It had a huge veranda for which the obvious purpose (sunset dance parties) has yet to be realized, and a 1950s diner look that boldly stuck out from the rest of downtown.

But the old building hadn’t been torn down or turned into another retail strip. No, the good people of Louisiana had let the original bold colors shine and allowed Vicki B to start serving up Southern food last week.

I walked in to find the inside equally unique, with hubcaps and pulleys and car memorabilia throughout. I sat down with my friend Devin and was immediately greeted by a waitress who explained the menu and answered our many overbearing questions.

I ordered a catfish po’boy with a side of fries, and Devin ordered some red beans and turnips. And we of course ordered two or three ... or four ... pieces of cake, just to make sure we did our research.

The waitress brought us out some starter bread, which I can honestly say was the best restaurant bread I’ve had in Lake Charles — soft and buttery and melt-in-your-mouth good. I had to force Devin to eat the rest so I wouldn’t get too full to take down the catfish po’boy.

Soon, the po’boy came out, in all its glory. “Huge” was the first word that came to mind, then “flaky” and “fresh” and “delicious” followed soon after my first bite.

The catfish was so tender, it literally fell apart. It wasn’t fishy or greasy or any of those conditions that befall many a well-meaning po’boy. It was cooked just right, with a nice, thin shell lightly topped in a subtle tartar sauce. I ate. And ate.

I should also give due diligence to the fries, which, despite their simple appearance, can easily be spoiled with oversalting or too much time in the fryer. Thankfully, this was not the case at Vicki B’s.

These fries were obviously taken out after a quick dip, just long enough to crisp the outside and soften the middle, resulting in fluffed potato-y goodness that I couldn’t stop reaching for. The cake, too, was scrumptious and addicting, and I’m afraid we didn’t save as much “for later” as we originally planned.

Being the curious eater I am, I sampled a bit of Devin’s meal as well. The red beans and turnips were so Southern and tasty, I almost forgot I was in the middle of a city.

That day, my appreciation for the individual — for the people and buildings that aren’t concerned with “efficiency” or “fitting in” as much as with being authentic and unique — did not steer me wrong. It led me right to the checkered, flavorful doorstep of Vicki B’s, with the fall-apart catfish and perfectly imperfect slices of bread. And I’m so glad it did.

I encourage you to check out this new restaurant as well. It’s right on Lakeshore Drive between the fancy houses and the big banks, and has a great view of the lake.

And I can safely assure you this — you won’t be able to miss it.

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 15:03:44 CST 13353531 at
<![CDATA[Cal-Cam Fair ticket to family fun]]> By Vickie Peoples / American Press

The 93rd annual Cal-Cam Fair continues through Sunday at the West Cal Arena and Events Center in Sulphur.

The fair, which is the second oldest in the state, is best known for promoting education, industry, agriculture, livestock and civic clubs with entertainment for all, said festival president Chuck Kinney.

This year’s theme is “Set Sail to the Treasured Traditions.”

The fair offers livestock shows, beauty pageants, food booths, craft booths, local vendors and live bands from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night, Kinney said. The exhibit hall will also have posters, crafts, quilts, preserves and more for sale.

Entertainment will include Whiskey South tonight, Twisted X on Friday and Cody Forrest and Southern Pride on Saturday.

Kinney said organizers will award $400 scholarships for showmanship for every species at the livestock shows — goat, sheep, pig and beef. They also award a $400 scholarship to the Cal-Cam queen.

“It’s family fun. It’s traditions,” he said. “This brings communities together. We have so much out here for everybody to do. I encourage everybody to come out and enjoy the good weather and have a good time.”

Jan Nelson, secretary-treasurer, said the festival is for the young and old.

“We have great food, wonderful rides, entertainment and visiting with people who we know that come to the fair.”

Entry to the festival is $5 for adults; children 10 and under will be admitted free. Bracelets for unlimited rides are $20 and parking is free.

For more information, call 527-9371.

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 15:03:41 CST 13353530 at