Community Foundation of Acadiana Celebrates 20 Years

This November marks the 20th anniversary of the Community Foundation of Acadiana and their effort to connect the generous public of the region to build lasting legacies and improve their communities; this notable milestone was outlined in a featured piece in the Advocate.

Created in 2000, the Community Foundation of Acadiana is now the third largest community foundation in the state, and its work falls into the two categories of stewardship and civic leadership.

CFA is different from other nonprofits, as it’s not the end beneficiary, meaning they help donors establish funds and direct their dollars to make grants to churches, schools, and other entities and nonprofit organizations. In addition to this CFA organizes civic engagement opportunities for “the betterment of communities” across the Acadiana area.

This year with the fondation activating its Acadiana Disaster Response Fund following Hurricane Laura and remaining active in Hurricane Delta’s aftermath, the primary mission of the foundation has become more important than ever before. This is because donations to this fund are being used to support organizations that are working with people and communities most affected by the storms.

Raymond Hebert, the CEO of the Community Foundation of Acadiana, remarked on the foundation’s granting of more than $50 million in disaster/emergency response funds over a span of 20 years. He told The Advocate, “we are not a disaster organization, but over the years, we realized that a significant number of dollars with which people entrusted us would benefit organizations to help people affected by disasters and emergencies.”

In addition to storm relief, the foundation is continuing to work with those organizations assisting people and communities affected by the COVID-10 pandemic, as CFA has made more than $1.5 million in pandemic-related grants this year alone. Even after working across two decades, the foundation isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

These effects from both the multiple storms and the pandemic are expected to last for many months, causing CFA to already begin making plans for 2021’s South Louisiana Giving Day, which is “not a CFA fundraiser,” Hebert explained. “It is a fundraising tool CFA champions that helps provide access to all area nonprofits, churches and schools. It’s a powerful social media-driven endeavor that these organizations can use wisely as a strategic part of their own fundraising efforts.”Registration for the event opens in January with the Giving Day taking place on May 6th, 2021.

Another of the foundation’s major ongoing projects is the establishing of local affiliates in each parish in which CFA serves: Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St Landry, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Vermillion.

In addition to this, CFA partnered with The Brown Foundation in Metairie, Louisiana to establish the Leaders in Law Enforcement Awards. Annually, one Louisiana Sheriff’s office and one district attorney’s office are awarded and recognized for doing innovative, creative, and effective work. This year, the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office and the 40th Judicial District Attorney’s Office were awarded with a $25,000 cash award underwritten by the Brown Foundation.

Hebert reflected on the impact of the community foundation by stating, “over these 20 years, we have learned about a lot of things we can do that were never on our radar before. We live in a very entrepreneurial area. People are not afraid to take some risks and be creative, and I think that spirit carries over into their philanthropy. We are pretty creative and pretty nimble, so we are able to do much to help people achieve their philanthropic objectives.”

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Museum Travel Destinations Worth Exploring

It’s high time to stop thinking of museum travel as only afield trip destination and to start seeing them as a must-visit stop on your next out-of-town vacation, date, or weekend get-a-way with this list of the top American cities with museums, as per a curated list from The Travel.

Museums are a prime location for sightseeing no matter if you’re interested in the sciences, arts, history, or general oddities. Additionally, each city on this list is a hub of great culture, food, and the general “must-sees” found on any travelor’s itinerary, but it’s the museums and the exhibits and collections within that will be the unforgettable sight you’ll be bragging about experiencing.

New York City

It’s an obvious choice, but New York is a city packed to the brim with all things distracting and life-changing, but particularly it’s the museums that the Big Apple offers you shouldn’t pass up. The largest in the city are those that you’ve heard of before or have seen in film; they’re the American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Guggenheim Museum, and the 9/11 Memorial.Though, if you’re more interested in an off-the-beaten-path stop, try out the Tenement Museum or the New York or the New York Transit Museum.

Washington D.C.

The nation’s capital has plenty of museums for lovers of history and all else as the city is brimming with so many to visit that many often plan entire trips just to stop and see as many exhibits as possible. Some notable locations of course are the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of National History, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. If you’re still craving can’t miss content, then book a your at the White House to top off your educational D.C. trip.

Chicago

The Windy City might be in the middle of the country, but it’s far from the middle of nowhere, and it houses some truly iconic museums. If you’re traveling with a family in particular, then be sure to try out the Field Museum and Sue, its famous exhibit of the largest T-Rex  ever discovered. Other stops you should check out are the Chicago History Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, and especially the Museum of Contemporary Art to round out all the best in learning and culture that Chicago has to offer.

Los Angeles

Heading to the west coast, Los Angeles has a lot to offer in the way of significant museums, and it’s likely that you’ve seen them on the silver screen before. Every traveler in L.A. swears by the Griffith Observatory, and they’re not wrong; it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime sight, especially if you’re able to catch one of their special events sprinkled throughout the year. While in town, be sure to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum, and the California Science Center for all the history, art, and science that Hollywood has to offer.

Seattle

The Pacific Northwest rounds out this cross-country collection of can’t-miss museum stops, and Seattle is just the progressive, hip city to do so. The Museum of Pop Culture should be at the top of your itinerary for those looking to have their knowledge of what’s been popular across the decades rewarded. Let your inner-nerd flourish with exhibits dedicated to Minecraft, Prince, Pearl Jam, and many more. Moving into the more traditional types of museums you can find in this interesting city, be sure to stop into the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, the Museum of History and Industry, and the Seattle Pinball Museum where your ticket of admission is also an excuse to play any game in sight!

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EBR Public Schools Beginning Meal Delivery

This month, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System is adapting its plan to create a meal delivery plan to provide to virtual students. This plan will conveniently deliver meals directly to families, as reported in an Advocate article this month.

Since the return to in-person instruction took place earlier this fall semester, many school systems in Louisiana have been providing students with their daily in-person meals as well as additional “shelf-stable” and “fridge-safe” meals for the students’ at home or virtual learning days. With this plan, students in East Baton Rouge Parish schools attending in-person classes as a part of a hybrid schedule and students electing to stay home to learn virtually would have to come to school to retrieve the meals in-person.

Logically, this is an inconvenience for the full-virtual students, but all that changes in November 2020 with a new delivery service provided by the school system of East Baton Rouge Parish, and the service is expected to continue through the end of the school year in May 2021.

Nadine Mann, the Director of Child Nutrition for EBR schools expressed the dire need for a change in procedure as 30% of the district’s 12,000 students are learning strictly from their homes, making it a struggle for the school district to feed them. She told The Advocate, “I’m not really doing justice in providing meals to those students. The students in the virtual environment are entitled to meals as well.”

Starting in November, eligible families will be sent a link to an online signup form that will need to be completed by 5 pm each Thursday in order to receive a week’s worth of meals the following week.

Taylor Gass, a spokesperson for the school system reported that families will have to “re-register” each week due to the influx of students returning to in-person instruction and to ensure that drivers have the most up-to-date delivery addresses.

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in March closing school buildings across Louisiana, Mann’s staff has served grab-n-go meals on various school campuses, shifting over time to distributing a week’s worth of meals at once time. The return to in-person instruction has decreased the number of meal pick-ups, especially with all public schools in EBR resuming daily instruction on Oct 19th.

Initially, Mann considered utilizing school buses to deliver meals, but because of the number of perishable items, such as items with meat requiring refrigeration, the state health department rejected the proposed idea. After brainstorming with Emily Chatelain, the founder of the Three O’Clock Project, an afterschool meal program, she learned about TDP Group LLC, a company run by local restaurateur Jeff Landry. The group has a fleet of refrigerated trucks as well as a useful routing software to guide food deliveries effectively. TDP trucks will deliver meals once a week Monday through Friday between 8am and 5pm.

Like the curbside meals provided by the district, the meal delivery plan will provide home-delivered meals that are put together by the school system’s Child Nutrition department using “the same food,” remarked Mann. “It’s our product that we would normally cook in our kitchens.”

Meal boxes will include a combination of cereal, fresh bread products, frozen entrees, canned fruit and vegetables, and shelf-stable milk, totalling five lunches, five breakfasts, five suppers, and five snacks. The only catch is that meals cannot be left on a doorstep, as someone must be present to sign for the package. If no one is present when the truck arrives, Landry’s company plans to retry later in the week.

The meal delivery plan will be seen as a relief to many families, as most of society’s necessities have shifted to a delivery-model given recent national changes, and it’s a comfort to know that the youth of Baton Rouge will be receiving meals alongside their at-home learning.

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The Best Recipes for Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken, for many, is a dinnertime classic staple dish and oftentimes a lifesaver for those cooking in a pinch or on a budget, and with this survey of Martha Stewart’s Greatest Grilled Chicken Recipes, you won’t be without ideas the next time you decide to serve white or dark meat.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Oregano

Let the citrus and herbs of this recipe delight you and your guests’ pallets and savor the utterly sun-filled flavors of the Mediterranean with this dish. You’ll marinate a halved chicken in chopped fresh oregano, lemon zest, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Let it rest for a few hours (but you know it’d be better left overnight) and then cook it over a medium heat and plan to move it to a cooler part of the grill if you find the outside burning too quickly. Cut, serve, and enjoy this juicy and savory treat.

Grilled Whole Chicken with Barbecue Sauce

If you’re grilling a whole chicken, and you want it to be absolutely perfect, a great barbecue master knows that it takes a whole heap full of patience and restraint to get the job done right. This recipe suggests setting up your preferred grill for indirect heat and cooking the chicken for an hour and a half, brushing the bird with homemade barbecue sauceduring the last 15 minutes on the grill for the best results.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

While you have that grill out, let’s fire up some deeply delicious buttermilk chicken that’s as flavorful as it is moist and tender. This recipe asks you to marinate it in tangy buttermilk, garlic, and fresh rosemary or thyme. If you’re looking for a more heavenly aromatic essence, try infusing the chicken by grilling it alongside orange segments and rosemary springs for a hint of herbal and citrus smells and flavor that will have your tablemates smiling and salivating.

Grilled Chicken with Mango and Mint-Lime Dressing

This grilled chicken recipe has a great half-dressing, half-marinade recipe that will make your next break room lunch feel like it’s tableside at the downtown restaurant of your choice. The flavorful and versatile concoction has you combine lime juice, garlic, and fresh mint together for a lively mixture perfect for its dual purpose. Top your favorite saladgreens with the other half of the dressing/marinade and pair it with watercress, mango and charred radishes for a great addition to any “sad salad.”

Barbecued-Chicken Salad

Speaking of salads, you don’t have to only have a barbecue chicken salad as an inevitable use for leftovers from your latest Sunday barbecue. Instead, plan ahead and use an unforgettable smoky marinade made from lime zest, lime juice, garlic, paprika, and honey. Brush that onto the chicken before you grill and then use the remaining bit to dress the salad that you’ll pair the chicken with alongside cherry tomatoes, grilled corn, avocado, and lettuce of your choosing.

Smoky Grilled Chicken with Sweet Vinegar Sauce

This light dish is a combination of salty richness and tart, sweet flavors as the chicken is brushed with a robust vinegar sauce before hitting the grill for that extra charred, smoky flavor and can’t beat texture. The dual purpose marinade and dressing is made by combining paprika, mustard, sugar, cayenne, salt, and pepper, and the entire dish is perfect for your next served appetizer or full-course staple. 

Cashew-Chicken Kebabs

If you’re looking for an aesthetically-pleasing treat then look no further than these chicken thighs that are brushed in a mixture of red curry paste and ground cashews for these skewers that are inspired by Thai cuisine. They grill quickly, and when served over a rice noodle salad, they’re sure to disappear quickly too!

For more delicious recipes, click here.

New Scholarship Awards Nicholls’ Upperclassmen

This month, Nicholls State University is receiving a new scholarship from Mike and Christine Bourgeois to benefit upperclassmen, as reported by a Nicholls Press Release.

The Bourgeois family donated $30,000 to the Nicholls State University Foundation to create the Michael C. and Christine P. Bourgeois #4 Endowed Upperclassmen/Alumni Scholarship, making this the fourth scholarship created by the family. Their precious scholarships were aimed at benefiting first-generation students and those enrolled in the School Psychology Specialist program.

Mike and Christine Bourgeois wanted to give back to those students often overlooked by financial aid and scholarship opportunities, the upperclassmen, stating, “so much money is geared toward freshmen, but what happens in the years after that? We want to help those students finish school, so that’s why we brought in juniors and seniors with this scholarship. Nicholls has opened a lot of doors for us and prepared us for successful careers. This is a way we can give back.”

Applicants wanting to benefit from this scholarship must be graduates of any Lafourche or Terrebonne high school and be enrolled at Nicholls as a junior or senior with a cumulative 2.0 GPA or be an enrolled graduate student with a cumulative 3.0 GPA. Up to three students meeting those requirements will be awarded $200 per semester.

The Executive Director of the Nicholls Foundation, Jeremy Becker, commented, “Mike and Christine are alums that are not only supportive of Nicholls, but also concerned with creating opportunities for students to be successful. By creating their now fourth different scholarship opportunity for Nicholls students, they are leaving a legacy that is admired by the university, the Nicholls Foundation and the community.”

Though, the scholarship from Mike and Christine Bourgeois isn’t the only effort Nicholls is making to make the financial stresses of its students less menacing. Due to the restrictions placed on the campus as a result of Covid-19, the annual Sponsor A+ Scholar Wine and Food Tasting Extravaganza will not be held in person, but it will instead be a rolling donation drive over a two week period. Peoples Drug Store in Houma is the headline sponsor for this year’s event.

In November, alumni, community members, and more are invited to donate to the scholarship fund, and donors with gifts of at least $75 will receive a limited edition set of wine glasses bearing the Nicholls logo, while supplies last.

This annual event has been greatly impactful on the university’s campus, as 159 scholarships worth $125,500 have been awarded over the past decade. These scholarships are awarded each fall to full-time Nicholls student leaderswho have a 2.5 GPA or high school students actively involved in their communities who hold a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 and a minimum ACT composite score of 21.

Monique Crochet, who earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Nicholls in 1998 and a Mastery in Education in 2000, is the executive director of external affairs. Crochet lamented on the pivoting of the scholarship drive from an in-person event to an ongoing virtual one by saying, “while we are sad that we cannot host the A+ Scholar Food and Wine Extravaganza in person this year, we are excited about the opportunity to continue to raise much-needed scholarship dollars for our students. Now more than ever, scholarships are a necessity for our students so that they may continue to pursue their dreams of a college degree.”

For more information on the Michael C. and Christine P. Bourgeois #4 Endowed Upperclassmen/Alumni Scholarship applicants can visit Nicholls’ Office of Financial Aid’s dedicated scholarship listing, and those wanting more information on the Sponsor A+ Scholarship fund can visit this information hub.

For more education related information, click here.

Historic Hotel Stays To Consider

Who says that the destination of a vacation or weekend getaway needs to be a large spectacle; sometimes you need only book a stay in a historic hotel that has an actual legacy and story to its accommodations rather than one resembling a condominium, and it’s easy to book with this listing of the most historic hotels in each state, as curated by TravelPulse.

Concord’s Colonial Inn, Massachusetts

The accommodating destination of this historic hotel is a prime fit for those interested in both Revolutionary War-era history and the literary-great, Henry David Thoeau, as he lived in this inn while attending Harvard. Built in 1716, this inn became the site of the Revolutionary war’s First Battle of Lexington and Concord. In 2016, this locale celebrated its 300th anniversary, and it’s located in Concord’s Monument Square, just a stone’s throw from other prominent historical landmarks.

The Candler Hotel Atlanta, Georgia

Found in downtown Atlanta, this historic hotel was built in the early twentieth century by Asa G. Candler, the founder of Coca-Cola. This 17th story behemoth is a Beaux-Arts building with exterior carvings of prominent historical figures such as William Shakespeare and Michaelangelo. Though now it’s a boutique hotel, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, this building used to house several businesses such as banks.

The Plaza, New York

Few hotels are as iconic as The Plaza, New York’s most well-known accommodating stay. This glorious hotel has been hosting the elite since 1907 in its French Chateau-inspired Beaux-Arts building with over 1,600 crystal chandeliers. This hotel is the very idea of lavish living, and its had Frank Lloyd Wright, Greta Garbo, the Vanderbilts,and Frank Sinatra as guests. Though, for many children, Eloise, the famous children’s book character, immediately comes to mind as The Plaza’s most famous guest.

The Pfister Hotel, Wisconsin

One of the Midwest’s best known hotels is Milwaukee’s own Pfister Hotel. Built in 1893 in a Romanesque Revival design by architect Charles Koch, this was America’s first hotel with individual thermostats in each room. In addition to its forward-thinking amenities, this hotel contains the largest Victorian art collection in the world, and it’s found in the heart of Downtown Milwaukee and its stunning views of Lake Michigan.

The Omni Homestead Resort, Virginia

Built in 1766 in Hot Springs, Virginia is this hotel that is referred to as a healing retreat by the locals for its hot springs, manicured gardens, bubbling brooks, and golf course. Recently celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2016, this is the oldest continuous hotel to be found in the United States, and it even housed its fair share of celebrities and presidents, including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Woodstock Inn & Resort, Vermont

Originally built on the site of the town’s first tavern, this historic hotel is now a modern-day golf and ski resort.  It became a hotel in 1830 and later became the apple of Laurance and Mary Rockefeller’s eyes as they used this location to create their dream of an eco-friendly hotel, and that legacy lasts to this day, as it’s locally-known as a great setting for reconnecting with nature.

Union Station Hotel – Nashville, Tennessee

Originally built in 1900 as the city’s railroad hub, this grand, Victorian Romanesque Revival style building became one of the most unique hotels in the county in the 1980s after the station was abandoned.  Beneath the looming clocktower, this building features Gothic stone archways and curved windows in which the gorgeous spectacle of Downtown Nashville is viewable.

Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, New Hampshire

Built in 1865 as a relaxing outdoor getaway, this resort’s signature porsche have been utilized by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Stephen King, and many more, as the beautiful scenery and picturesque atmosphere make it an absolute must-stay.

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