Wing City: Hammond, Louisiana’s Top 10 Best Wings

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By Jesse Brooks

While the world was sleeping, the city of Hammond, Louisiana quietly has become a kingdom for wings. No meetings were held, and a formal declaration may not have even been made, but Hammond has become a center for the best locally made wings in the last 15 or so years.

So let’s take a look at the trailblazers putting this college town on the map with America’s favorite bar food. There are the top 10 best wings in Hammond.

10. China Wok – 1320 N Morrison Blvd, Hammond, LA 70401

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For years now, China Wok has been serving up some of the best value meals to Southeastern students living on a budget. For about $7-8 you can get a fried wings and pork fried rice box. The wings are plain but they’re lightly fried and crispy, and the friend rice makes the perfect compliment. Mix it up with any combination of soy, duck or sriracha sauce and you’ll eat like a king.

9. Big Al’s Burgers – 14605 W University Ave, Hammond, LA 70401

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Big Al’s has been a recent welcomed addition to the Hammond food scene. It features a simple menu of burgers, po boys and wings. The wings here about medium sized and not over fried. They offer familiar flavors like BBQ, lemon pepper and buffalo.

8. Salty Joe’s BBQ – 43344 South Range Rd. Hammond, Louisiana

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Hammond doesn’t have a long tradition of barbeque, but Salty Joe’s is giving it a go, and doing a pretty good job at it. The wings here are smoked, making them the only ones on our list that aren’t fried. They come in original and spicy, and their smoked method makes the wings tender with meat falling off the bone.

7. Bone-A-Fide Wings & Things – 46289 N Morrison Blvd, Hammond, LA 70401

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In recent years, Bone-A-Fide has made their presence known. They have continued to add to the menu and have many favorites that leave customers coming back for more. The recommended flavor here is lemon pepper, and be sure to grab a side of mac-and-cheese with every meal.

6. Super King Seafood – 411 West Thomas St. Hammond, Louisiana 70401

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Super King is super dope when it comes to big order boiled seafood like crawfish and crabs, but did you know they have some of the best wings in town? Super King’s hot wings are not to be confused with buffalo wings. They’re fried in an Asian style batter full of spice. Make sure grab a cold beverage with a wing and fried rice box.

5. Mariner’s Inn – 117 W Thomas St Hammond, Louisiana 70401

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Mariner’s is a Hammond staple and classic in everything they do. They are one of the city few late night spots, closing at midnight, making them a favorite with college students, service industry workers and the bar crowd. So naturally wings are a fit. Mariner’s offers one of the purest traditional buffalo wings found in Hammond.

4. Coop DeVille – 1750 W Thomas St, Ste I Hammond, Louisiana 70401

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Coop DeVille is ground zero for Hammond’s wing wave. Before them, there were not any wing specific restaurants and they set the standard with a vast menu of different flavors. Bacon and Cheddar wings are probably the most unique ones here.

3. City Empire – 1304 W. Thomas Street Hammond, Louisiana 70401

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City Empire is the newest establishments on the scene and they’ve already shown great promise. The price is great as they offer a four piece wings and friends deal for $5.00. They also close at midnight, and 3 a.m. on the weekends, making them one of the most reliable late night spots in the city. Their wings are plump, flavorful and made to order.

2. Tommy’s on Thomas – 216 W Thomas St, Hammond, LA 70401
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Known for pizza, Tommy’s has the absolute best buffalo wings in the city hands down. They’re breaded, one of the few on our list, but the batter isn’t thick. Tommy’s wings are jumbo in size and pair well with the house made ranch dressing and a cold brew. They also have a Voodoo BBQ flavor that is pretty good as well.

1. Chef’s Wings – 408 SW Railroad Ave, Hammond, LA 70403

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We are crowning Chef’s Wings as the best of Hammond because they score points across the board in wing criteria. Their wings are medium in size, never over fried and there’s a decent variety of flavors. The two best flavors here are lemon pepper and sweet red chili. Those looking for heat in their buffalo will find it here so choose your temperature carefully.

 

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REVIEW: Punjabi Dhana serves Hammond, Louisiana its first taste of Indian Cuisine

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HOT LIKE CURRY- Punjabi Dhaba Indian Cuisine is the first culinary venture of its kind in Hammond, Louisiana. Photo by Jeremy Rhodes.

By Jeremy Rhodes

Scientists say that our sense of smell holds the strongest potential of memory. I claim this to be self evident being that I wish to relive the memory of walking into Punjabi Dhaba Indian Cuisine for the first time. Hearing the appeasing songs of Indian pop music and smelling the aroma of some of the finest Indian food I have ever had brought me to a scerine place in my mind. In my ignorance I could never imagine such a culinary blessing to grace Hammond America, but fear not readers, Indian Food is closer to home than you could imagine. At first glance, Punjabi Dhaba Indian Cuisine only looks like a gas station because it is, the Best Stop 34 to be exact. Look beyond the humble interior because behind the doors lies a treat for the senses.

I was in a jovial state of mind by all the options that were presented before me. Not only was the menu concise and informative, it also gave the option of mild, medium or spicy for all the dishes. For the sake of retelling my experience to others, I decided to order the scipy version of the Butter Chicken. I chose this dish because I feel that the Butter Chicken is a good starting point for any newcomers who may never have had Indian cuisine before and I wanted to face the trust behind the infamous overbearing spiciness that is notorious with Indian Cuisine.

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Photo by Jeremy Rhodes.

In response, I say with all honesty that the Butter Chicken was an absolute delight. This dish alone could convert anyone sits on the fence of suspicion. There was a euphoric wave of joy in every spoonful I had. The cream in the dish cut the spiciness without leaving any flavor out. The dish is served with traditional brass bowls and Indian rice. With the Indian music playing behind me and the dishes steaming before me I could close my eyes and be at complete peace in the world.

I was joined by friends on this culinary conquest, to which they ordered the Chicken Vindaloo and the Palak Kofta. The Chicken Vindaloo had a savory spice found in the garlic tomato sauce. The hidden gem about this dish are the potatoes that compliment the sauce by absorbing vast amounts of flavor. Though this dish had quite a spicy kick, it is the flavor that brings out the love and tradition that cooked with it. The Palak Kofta is a vegetarian dish with a thick, hearty spinach sauce. I truly love this dish for the mixed vegetable balls that come with it shows the powerful taste possibilities vegetables can have.

I will be frank when I say that the location of this restaurant is not the best place to hold such majestic food but I sit back and think how perfectly quaint it is for Punjabi Dhaba Indian Cuisine to be found in a gas station. It is as if this restaurant challenges the adventurous eater to find them and in result find culinary bliss.

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Photo by Jeremy Rhodes.

While talking with customers around me I found that many of them were returning customers. It is as if these partitions discovered a goldmine and have fallen madly in love with what is offered. One customer, Wade Bridges, was eating here to celebrate his birthday. Bridges was very passionate about his love of Punjabi Dhaba Indian Cuisine and recalls his first time trying their food by saying, “I was super trebadacious about Indian food and I didn’t know anything about it going in. I found that it is absolutely an experience. We are from the South we know spice we can handle that, this is a completely different kind. This is flavor this is not just straight heat.” When asked about how he would sell the idea of Indian food to a person who has never had it he said, “Honestly, I am just going to continue to rave about it. How good it is and how filling it is.”

My overall thoughts on this restaurant is that this is an eatery I want to see flourish. The herbs and spices experienced here awakened tastebuds I did not know I even had. I think the consensus from fans of Punjabi Dhaba Indian Cuisine is that this place has great food. I agree with this, however, not only is this a great restaurant I also believe this is an important restaurant. Punjabi Dhaba Indian Cuisine brings a hidden gem of culture to Hammond. The south’s comfort food is about bringing three things to the table; food, smiles and community. I saw with my own eyes complete strangers talking to each other while enjoying this food. It is as if the flavors melted our guard we tend to build around ourselves. Punjabi Dhaba Indian Cuisine is a place to be adventurous, satisfied and happy.

Oak Forest guard Janero Porter receives first college offer

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TRUST THE PROCESS- Oak Forest Academy point guard Janero Porter has received his first college offer from Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas. Photo by Matthew Roy.

By Jesse Brooks

AMITE- Patience paid off for Janero Porter, a recent graduate of Oak Forest Academy, as he has finally received his first athletic scholarship to play basketball. The full ride opportunity comes from from Tabor College, a NAIA school from Hillsboro, Kansas.

Porter spent most of last season with a knee injury that held him to a minutes restriction when he did play. This season, he bounced back to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 20-10 overall record and a trip to the semifinal round of the MAIS AAAA Div. 1 State Tournament as the squad’s starting point guard.

Porter played as a facilitating point guard averaging 15.4 points, 8.7 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 5.1 steals per game for his senior season.

Tabor College is a member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference of the NAIA and finished with an overall record of 14-15 this season under head coach Micah Ratzlaff, who is in his 11th season with the Blue Jays.

Porter still has yet to determine is college landing spot. The siging period for NCAA Div. I basketball has closed, but he has until August 1 to sign a letter of intent for a school from Div. II, NAIA or junior college.

Porter is the second player from Oak Forest, under head coach Curtis Matherne, to receive a NAIA offer this season. Forward Chris Backa signed a letter of intent to play for LSU-Alexandria last month.

MUSIC REVIEW: Hammond Rapper J. Quick shows a harder edge with “Can’t Lose Faith”

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REFLECTIONS- Hammond rapper J. Quick (a.k.a. Jarius Burton) attempts to small town dreams into big city realities. Photo submitted.

By Jesse Brooks

For anyone young in America right now, figuring out how to manage day-to-day living while facing an ever growing income inequality gap is a harsh reality. This especially rings true for young African-Americans trying to accomplish that and more.

The awareness of this reality is something being explored by rapper J.Quick (a.k.a Jarius Burton) from Hammond, Louisiana. Quick has been building a career in hip-hop ever since he was a teenager, and at age 22, he somewhat has the feeling of a veteran on the scene.

Though Quick himself may feel like he has been on the grind for years, his reality is that he and his career are young. As he has completed projects as a recording artist, his sound and narratives have been in a constant flux.

His latest release, an E.P. entitled “Can’t Lose Faith”, is a departure from his past themes that dealt with relationships and heartbreak through Drake style hip-hop ballads. The current release is darker and more reflective, signs of a young artist diving headfirst into manhood.

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NOW PLAYING- Stream J. Quick’s “Can’t Lose Faith EP” right now for free on Sound Cloud.

Being a musician from Hammond, roughly 55 minutes north of New Orleans on I-55, can be tough due to a lack of media availability. It is a college town, but its markets are in between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, which leaves the Tangipahoa Parish hub lost in the mix sometimes. Musicians from Hammond often have to compete twice as hard for gigs, sales or anything else with artists from more established urban bases.

Even for a small town, Hammond has its dangerous neighborhoods and immediately from the opening track, Quick paints an upbringing involving experiences of violence and drug dealing he witnessed. This is the first time Quick has ever brought his audience into his past, and by doing so he makes his case for an exit from that life.

Can’t Lose Faith was produced and mixed by Teveyon Bickham and sounds like an assortment of several styles of hip-hop from over the years. In the opening track and the fourth “Lost So Many” there are a lot of subtle nods to 90s style hip-hop, but it’s a hodgepodge of Death Row, Bad Boy and Cash Money. The sound reflects the pair of Hammond artists well since it tends to be the kind of town that absorbs everything. The harder sound fits the more mature viewpoints Quick is working through.

Perhaps the most striking track of the EP is the final one entitled “You Had to Be There.” In it, Quick envisions his neighborhood as a war zone with violence the audience would not be able to imagine. He describes an environment so riddled with violence that it can be hard to mentally rise above. If anyone closes their eyes, this could be in any town in America. The narrator endures scenes of violence and fears calling police in fear that the violence will be subjected to them.

Can’t Lose Faith is a sign of growth for Quick lyrically, showing that he wants to be an artist with a message. Quick seems to embrace growth as his social media presence is in a constant state of rebranding. He periodically shares images of himself in between promoting projects, and he also eventually removes all of his old work from the public. This is an artist experimenting and figuring out who they will become.

If Quick can expand out of the Hammond area, starting with this release, audience’s won’t lose faith with him.

Stream Quick’s work here:
YouTube
SoundCloud
Spotify
iTunes

Jay Artigues Sportsplex adds new services just in time for summer

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GROWING- The Jay Artigues Sportsplex has announced new training services and a full summer program that includes camps for kids. Photo by Jesse Brooks.

By Jesse Brooks

HAMMOND- The Jay Artigues Sportsplex, a multi-sport training facility located on Highway 51 northbound, has announced the availability of new services and full program of summer activities.

The Sportsplex, founded by current Southeastern athletic director Jay Artigues and former Oak Forest Academy baseball coach Tony Salim, was opened three years ago and started mostly as an indoor training facility for baseball, the only one of its kind in Tangipahoa Parish. Since Sportsplex’s opening year, the facility now offers training services for softball, cheerleading, tumbling and football in addition to baseball. Starting on June 4, they will offer strength and speed training as well.

“We have camps going on for everything from baseball to soccer to cheerleading, we just had a football camp so we really have it open to all sports,” said Salim, who now serves as manager and oversees the daily operations fulltime. “When we opened this place, Jay Artigues and I talked about this being one of our dreams for the area for several years, and at one point we finally said let’s go for it. We’ve grown a little bit every year. A lot of people think that it’s a baseball facility, which it is, but it offers much more than just baseball. We offer a lot of things for your kids to do.”

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BEAT THE HEAT- Now open at the Sportsplex, King Cone Ice Cream and Snowballs is serving up refreshments. Photo by Jesse Brooks

Salim also said that the stakes of high school sports have become a lot more competitive in recent years, and facilities like the Sportsplex that offer the latest equipment and services from trained professionals helps young athletes in the area gain an edge. By offering a competitive arena, the Sportsplex, which offers 10,000 square feet of indoor turf, promotes healthy lifestyles through competition for local area youth. As the facility grows and continues to include more sports, it gives opportunities to more kids to be occupied in athletic training.

The Sportsplex truly is the only facility in the area where youth and high school athletes have access to resources are of college and professional level quality. Currently, the facility has hosted several local high school cheer squads that have rented the indoor turf for practices.

“I think it makes the local youth better,” Salim said. “Not only is it a pure training facility as far as whenever you need one-on-one instruction when you’re trying to get better, but we’re also available for local area teams when it rains, which prevents them from missing a practice. Several years back, many of us never had access to something like that.”

One of the newest additions of equipment is the hit track system. Salim says this technology is used by Division I programs, and it tracks how far a batter’s swings go and it measures the exit velocity of each hit. The system also records the batter’s swings on video to watch and critique later.

Salim feels that the more competitive high school sports become, the more important it is for athletes to participate in travel ball. The Hammond Yankees are a youth travel team that was established by Artigues and Salim in 2011 and their home is the Sportsplex.

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BEGINNINGS- The Hammond Yankee youth travel ball teams were founded by Jay Artigues and Tony Salim in 2011. Their home is the Sportsplex. 

“Anywhere from 10 to 20 kids have moved on to the college and professional ranks after playing Yankee ball,” Salim said. “Anyone can try out and we just try to get the best players possible. We’ve taken both experienced and raw kids. It just depends on what we think their potential can be.”

Wade Miley, who is a pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, has trained at the facility and has hosted camps there in the offseason. Kolton Kendrick, who plays within the Minnesota Twins organization, and Zach Clark, a player in the Brewers organization, also train at the Sportsplex in the offseason.

Beyond this summer, the growing continues for the Sportsplex. Salim confirmed that the facility has purchased additional land to expand the property to include turf fields with hopes of being able to host their own tournaments. The move should make Hammond a major hub for youth baseball within South Louisiana.

In addition to the sports services, the Sportplex also offers their space for birthday parties for kids.

“Obviously, there was a big need for birthday parties in the area,” Salim said. “Guests can come in and they have the entire turf area. There’s a variety of games kids can pick from that include kickball, dodgeball, wuffleball, and flag football that is organized and run by trained staff.”

Birthday packages include a field facilitator, a hostess, soft drinks and bounce houses by request.

This summer the Sportsplex will also host a regularly scheduled Parents’ Night Out that will last from 6-10 p.m. For $25 a guest, parents will be able to drop their children off for an event that includes activities, bounce houses and food in a package.

Next month the summer camp schedule will begin at the Sportsplex:
June 4- Barrett Morgan Baseball Camp from 5 to 7 p.m.
June 4-7- All Day Sports Camp from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
June 11- Chris McBride Soccer Camp from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Ages 5-13)
June 12-13- Kids’ Cheer Camp time TBA. (Ages 5-12)
June 18-21- Jay Artigues Baseball Camp from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Ages 9-13)
June 25-23- All Day Sports Camp from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
July 16-19- Jay Artigues Baseball Camp from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Ages 9-12)

For more information, please call (985) 956-7770 or visit jasportsplex.com.

FULL STORY: Tigers’ Melvin Baker officially signs with Coastal Alabama CC

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NEW ERA- Independence High Magnet School graduating senior Melvin Baker has signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Coastal Alabama Community College. He is seen here seated next to Tigers coach Ace Misita and his mother Jennifer Cook. Behind him are Principal Chasity Collier and Sun Chiefs coach Robby Robertson. Photo by Jesse Brooks.

By Jesse Brooks

On Tuesday, May 22, Independence High Magnet School graduating senior Melvin Baker signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Coastal Alabama Community College, fulfilling a personal goal to reach the next level. Baker, a three-year starter, was exceptional during his time with the Tigers, and displayed measurable improvement each season.

“I don’t think you can truly put into words what Melvin has done for our program,” said Tigers coach Ace Misita. “Before I got here, when he was a freshman, he was hurt and couldn’t play and they went 0-20. Then three years later and he’s a senior, we’re 19-5 and on the cusp of making a deep playoff run.”

At the conclusion of this season, the Tigers advanced to the second round of the LHSAA 2A postseason where they fell to Many 52-46, the third seed.

As humble as Baker comes across, his impact as a leader was significant as he contributed through every position on the floor. Now he has a chance to play the role of a contributor for the Sun Chiefs, a program that seems to be a natural fit for the 6’6 swingman forward.

“We play position-less basketball, following a trend started by the Golden State Warriors, so we don’t really have any expectations around what kind of position he’ll play,” Sun Chiefs Head Coach Robby Robertson said. “We need some help around and above the rim, and I think he can help us there. But we aren’t going to post him up and back him down every time. He’s going to have some freedom and we will put him in the best possible position to be successful.”

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Sun Chiefs Assistant Coach Len Lanier discovered Baker through a mutual connection on his AAU team, Northshore Elite out of Slidell. Now that he has the opportunity, Baker is ready to make the most out of it.

“They told me to expect more of a work out plan and to work my way up to get into spots I want to be in,” Baker said. “I just expect to go to school, be in class, eat right, wake up at certain times and stuff like that.”

The quiet natured Baker says going to a school not far from home, 36 minutes northeast of Mobile, will make the transition a bit easier. However, he admits with a smile, that getting used to a new environment for the first time will still be a challenge.

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Photo by Matthew Roy.

What Baker leaves behind in Independence is a legacy unique to Tangipahoa Parish. When the best athletes move on to the college ranks, it is practically tradition that it will be accomplished in football. In Baker’s case, he always dominated on the hardwood, scoring over 1,500 points in his high school career and being named District 9-2A MVP this season.

“He’s an excellent young man and his mother did a wonderful job raising him,” Misita said. “He’s never been tardy or in trouble during his four years at Independence. Coastal Alabama got themselves a good one.”

Hammond Regional Arts Center launches “Playing the Staircase” listening series

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Baton Rouge musicians Clay Parker and Jodi James will perform at the Hammond Regional Arts Center on July 27.

Hammond, LA, April 20, 2018 – The Hammond Regional Arts Center is pleased to announce the launch of its original listening room series, “Playing the Staircase.” This exciting new concept to Hammond, Louisiana will see the Hammond Regional Arts Center transform into an intimate listening room for original, acoustic music designed to expand the Arts Center’s mission into the audio arts.
“Playing the Staircase” will feature local and regional musicians playing on the landing of the HRAC staircase and give audiences an intimate listening room to enjoy original lyrics and music. Each session of “Playing the Staircase” will occur the last Friday of the month with musicians performing from 6-8 p.m. These events are B.Y.O.B.

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Hammond songwriter and musician Jess Kerber will open the “Playing the Staircase” Series on June 29. 

The HRAC is pleased to announce the first round of dates for “Playing the Staircase” shows: Jess Kerber (June 29), Clay Parker and Jodi James (July 27), Ameal Cameron (August 31), Denton Hatcher and Kristen Foster (September 28), Peter Simon (October 26), and Bill Robinson (November 30). Admission to each listening room is $5, and the entirety of the cover will go to the musicians.
The HRAC has had a long history of promoting and presenting original art, theatre, and storytelling. HRAC Executive Director Maureen Joyce is pleased to add original music and songwriting to that impressive list. She believes this will allow the Arts Center to be more versatile and open the door to new opportunities.

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Local songwriter Ameal Cameron. 

“Similar to the visual journey an artist takes us on, the musical journey, when we are truly present and listening takes us to those shared, connected memories and experiences that speak deeply into our joy, being and greater humanity,” Joyce said.

HRAC Media Coordinator Tara Bennett agrees. “The City of Hammond needs outlets for original, live music. People don’t just watch bands – they share an experience, and it’s our job to create the best possible environment to let such experiences happen. Our listening series is our attempt at doing just that.”
To have a taste of what “Playing the Staircase” will offer, visit the HRAC website at hammondarts.org/playing-the-staircase to listen to samples of music from the scheduled artists.

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ABOUT THE MUSICIANS

Jess Kerber Biography (Show on June 29)
Jess Kerber is a singer/songwriter taking influences from the 60s/70s era of folk. She has played at multiple local events and venues including the Three Rivers Art Festival in Covington, LA and The Ghost Light Theater, located in Hammond. This past summer, Jess was chosen to play at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston as part of the Top Ten Singer/Songwriter Showcase at Berklee College of Music’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program. With both parents being musicians, from an early age she was exposed to artists such as Joni Mitchell, The Allman Brothers, and Norah Jones. Born in New Orleans, Jess has lived in Hammond for most of her life and will soon be attending Berklee College of Music on a three-quarter scholarship in the Fall of 2018.

Clay Parker and Jodi James Biography (Show on July 27)
Clay Parker and Jodi James are an acoustic duo from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The pair’s use of dense harmony-singing and subtle musical arrangements indelibly binds them to the tradition of singer-songwriters and positions them well in the folk roots and Americana strains of country music.

As solo performers, both Clay Parker and Jodi James have long been staples in the burgeoning capital area songwriter scene. With Parker’s releases “The Wind and The Warble” (2011), “Any Old Time” (2013), and “Queen City Blues” (2017), there surfaces a home-spun array of familiar melodies, blues, and folk-style picking matched with phrase turning poetics and old-timey wit. James’ recordings “This Fire” (2009), “Far Between and Fleeting” (2012), and “Things I Leave Behind” (2015) are a deep and weighted collection of personal stories, vulnerable feelings, hopeful beginnings, and tragic endings – sometimes set against a quiet, breathy guitar – sometimes joined with the whole force of rock and roll.

In late 2014, Parker and James began writing together and hit a prolific stride that yielded about a dozen songs in just a couple of weeks. “When we started arranging and singing these songs,” says Clay, “there was an immediate appreciation for how easily everything sort of melted together.” Already being enamored with the old, family-style way of singing, it became clear that they should embrace these duet songs in the purest sense of the word. Jodi remarks, “There wasn’t ever a lead or background vocal – it just became one thing. We began experimenting with that idea a lot.”

The duo released a self-titled EP in December 2015 to great local and international acclaim. Among the reviews, John Apice of No Depression wrote: “This is an album that will need to be listened to and not just played in the background. It has to marinate in your musical soul–It is for select tastes and for discriminating ears. It will make an impression…it will.” Similarly, Rob Dickens of Australia’s Addicted To Noise commented: “Clay Parker and Jodi James have put together a gentle, loving and alluring collection, all songs both sincere and sublime.”

Parker and James have since been tirelessly touring the U. S. in support of the EP. Just in the last year they have played cafes, theaters, house shows, pubs, etc. in 28 states and show no signs of stopping. “It’s a fast way of living trying to do something so slow,” Parker snarks. “We’ve always [independently and together] been interested in operating at a slow and steady pace. We want the stuff we make to last a while.” James confers, “We’re not the kind of people who live and rely on social media and such. But we are constantly working and building and framing what we do… and driving.” Independently and as a duo, Clay Parker and Jodi James have shared stages with the likes of John Fullbright, Slaid Cleaves, Guy Clark, Verlon Thompson, Chris Hillman, John Moreland, Carlene Carter, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Robert Ellis, Jimmy Webb, and many more. They also played a musical role in the upcoming Ethan Hawke film Blaze, a glaring look into the life of the late singer-songwriter Blaze Foley.

On the horizon, the pair are planning an early 2018 full-length album release. Clay notes, “We’re looking forward to putting out these songs that have resided on our live setlists for quite a while now. And we’ve got some of our favorite Baton Rouge musicians helping us fill out some of the sonic spaces.” Jodi continues the thought, “We are really proud of our music scene down here in Baton Rouge – some of the best songs here – and we feel fortunate to take a little piece of that with us everywhere we go.”

The Hammond Regional Arts Center (HRAC) supports, promotes, and coordinates visual, performing, and literary arts in Tangipahoa Parish and surrounding parishes. Our primary mission is to enrich lives through quality arts education, develop an appreciation of the arts within individuals, and introduce the public to professional exhibitions, performances and literature.

The Hammond Regional Arts Center is supported in part by a Decentralized Arts Funding Grant from the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge in cooperation with the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and Louisiana State Arts Council.

A message from owner Gayle Benson to Pelicans fans

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While we are heartbroken by the loss of my husband, we are also tremendously grateful for the overwhelming love and prayers we continue to receive. Tom Benson’s love for his teams was rooted in his love for the fans. There was nothing he enjoyed more than greeting fans on game days, driving around training camp practices to shake hands or seeing so many loyal fans welcoming the team back from a road trip- win or lose. He felt a special connection to our incredible fan base because he truly felt like a fan himself -a hardworking, passionate New Orleanian who loved everything about his city. Following the Super Bowl victory, his first order of business was figuring out how he could share the Lombardi Trophy with as many of you as he could. He vowed that our trophy would be the most traveled, touched and photographed in the history of the NFL and ordered that a tour of the Gulf South be scheduled so that as many fans as possible could have their turn with it.

To his very last day, Tom Benson’s greatest hope was to bring more championships to our fans. I want you to know we are more committed than ever to make his hopes a reality. We will never forget his belief in what truly powers our teams- our fans. I would like to assure you that we planned carefully for this day and, while my husband could never be replaced, I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful leadership team and staff and we will move forward successfully together. We cannot thank you enough for all of the joy you gave my husband and will continue to do everything within our power to make you proud of our teams and city.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we celebrate my husband’s extraordinary life. Most of all, thank you for your unwavering devotion to our teams and city. I look forward to sharing many more special times together.

Gayle Benson
Owner
New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans

Hammond Art Guild celebrates 56 years with April exhibition

Lunch at the Rookery
PRESS RELEASE

HAMMOND, Louisiana– An artists’ group is a special thing to join. Ask any of the members of the Hammond Art Guild as several members have been involved with the group for more than a decade, and some since the guild’s founding in the 1960s.
The guild is currently celebrating a notable milestone this year with its 56th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, the Hammond Art Guild will have its 56th Annual Open Spring Judged Exhibition at the Hammond Regional Arts Center with an opening reception on Friday, April 6 from 5-8 p.m.
This exhibition continues the guild’s tradition of providing the city of Hammond with a display of art by some of the best artists in the area. The show features artist members’ creations, as well as artwork from area high school students and non-members of the guild. Pieces range from paintings, drawings, sculpture, jewelry, and more.

Old Pipes
Many of the art pieces in the Hammond Art Guild’s annual spring exhibition can serve as great gifts for Mother’s Day or just an original piece to hang in your home. The exhibition will be on display in the Hammond Regional Arts Center (HRAC) from April 6 through April 27. Special thanks to this year’s judge, Jeff Mickey, Professor of Sculpture, Southeastern Louisiana University. The award recipients will give a presentation on their award-winning works during an Art Talk and Tour on Wednesday, April 11, 5-6 p.m.

During Friday’s reception, wine and refreshments featuring the best, local strawberries of the season will be served a long with live music.

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Viewers may vote for the “People’s Choice Award,” and participate in an art raffle for $1 per chance. Admission into the Hammond Regional Arts Center is free. HRAC gallery hours include Wednesday-Friday from noon to 6 p.m.

The Hammond Regional Arts Center (HRAC) supports, promotes, and coordinates visual, performing, and literary arts in Tangipahoa Parish and surrounding parishes. Our primary mission is to enrich lives through quality arts education, develop an appreciation of the arts within individuals, and introduce the public to professional exhibitions, performances and literature.

Tigers’ Baker named District 9-2A MVP

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LEADING THE PACK- Senior Independence forward Melvin Baker named District 9-2A MVP. File photo by Matthew Roy.

By Jesse Brooks

Both Independence and Amite boys basketball squads turned in highly successful seasons in which the programs surpassed the first round of postseason tournament play in Class 2A.

One Tangipahoa Parish’s best prospects, Independence senior forward Melvin Baker, was named the “Most Valuable Player” of District 9-2A. Throughout his high school tenure, Baker’s role for Tigers ascended from contributing role player to featured star his junior and senior seasons.

For a team lacking in size down on the block, the 6’4 forward often played in the post while flashing skills that fit into all five positions on the floor.

“I think it speaks to Melvin’s ability to be voted MVP in a district with so many guys with D1 offers in various sports.,” said Tigers head coach Ace Misita. “Melvin is a leader on and off the court and it’s been a blessing coaching him the past three years. Any college will be lucky to add him to their program. They’ll be getting a great player and an even better person.”

Baker is currently not committed to any college programs, and still hoping for offers to come through.

In addition to Baker’s top honor, several members of the Tigers’ and Amite Warriors were named to the All-District team. Fellow Tiger De’Angelo Gaines joins Baker in the first team selections as does senior Tyrus Wheat, junior Devonta Lee and juniorTroy Wyre from Amite.

All District Second Team: Amite junior shooting guard Dereon Edwards.

All District Honorable Mention: Independence guards Michael Otkins (senior) and Genord Perry (junior).

Other All-District selections:

Second Team:

Christian Hasenkampf/ Junior/ Pope John Paul II

Nathan Newberry/ Senior/ Northlake Christian

Kaz Warren/ Senior/ Pine

Blain Gros/ Sophomore/ Northlake Christian

Honorable mention:

Trenton Reimoneng/ Freshman/ Northlanke Christian

Jordan Anderson/ Sophomore/ Pine

Marcell Cotton/ Junior/ Pine

Jonathan Bulot/ Senior/ Pope John Paul II

Sean Price/ Senior/ Pope John Paul II