Seeing Red, the Color Black

July 14th, 2015

11350811_850793155007907_8900909599369797360_nThe Bridge Nouveau Theatre Production of Red by John Logan at the Baton Rouge Gallery did not provoke anger in me as the red cape does to the bull but it did bring forth a visceral sadness especially when Rothko spoke of his friend, Jackson Pollock. Rothko played by Gregory Leute ushers in the tragedy gracefully and very well-accompanied by Brady Lewis playing Ken, his assistant. The provocation of Ken by his employer, Rothko, is not mistaken. It is the taunting of the bull by the fighter. Both words and colors fuel the fires from within Ken and Rothko. Finally Ken spews forth his opinion on the old man’s view of the color black, challenging him to a duel about the meanings and feelings of certain colors but ending with the sharp-tongued stab of Rothko’s low blow, “I did not kill your parents”. Leute and Lewis volley very successfully. Each actor continues and follows through each emotion, committing to the anger and tragedy yet recovering to rise out of the darkness to challenge the audience.

Very first scene, Ken’s fly is unzipped. He is just arriving to his first day on the job. Is this an intentional character flaw? It works wonders on me. At once I question my reaction and wait for Rothko’s reaction. I see it! Such a small detail that affects the audience and the other actor. Immediately this detail sets a tone that is gradually rearranged as the color red appears in conversation and on the canvas.

A friendship blossoms, deeper conversations emerge, revealing some core emotions and motives for their color associations. Ken opens up to Rothko about his tragic family life and I believe Ken’s memory about the color red and the white of snow. Rothko talks about “one day the black will swallow the red”. Ken stands up to his hypocrisies and holds his own. The actors pushing and pulling the intensity around the stage, left and right, right and left, using the space well. Facing the audience while looking at the imaginary painting, discussing, learning, teaching even against Rothko’s exhortations about “you are only my employee!”.

The stage in reality is an art gallery but the scene is set in a studio so the track lighting works very well. I don’t think any other space would lend itself to this play as well. Even the sliding doors as backstage are charming. I want to point out the direction by Alicia Hanley as something of a wonder, two men in a studio debating the finer points of artistic life could be a static situation but Hanley creates a flow and activates the stage especially the scene in which they paint the canvas together, my favorite scene. The sound design by Nick Hwang is flawless as I expected, knowing his work from past art installations. The classical music blares during this scene. Dramatic and climatic illustrating the use of the color red; passion, life, love, lips, ruby slippers.

The sadness I feel does not impede my enjoyment of the play. I am enriched by the power of the actors that are so engaged in creating momentum. The foreshadowing of suicide is honest and the entire play is an exploration of Rothko’s wide latitude of feelings concerning his life and paintings which he felt needed to be protected and sheltered from the bitterness of the outside world. He tried to keep a distance from the world but in reality he was incredibly sensitive to everything and everyone. This is a complex character that Gregory Leute handles and expresses through his stage relationship with Brady Lewis. And Lewis is able to hold up a mirror and challenge us as well as Leute.

“To create a temple for my paintings” is ultimately not what the Four Seasons restaurant would become for Rothko’s murals. He battled with this during his conversations with Ken. This production of Red did justice to his process, the artist’s process, of letting go, in the sense of releasing your babies into the cruel world and in the sense of maybe not clinging to what the outside world offers up to the ego.


Meg Guidroz Holford can be contacted here:

PS I would like to organize a trip to the Rothko Chapel in the Fall. It is in Houston. We could ride together in a nice big van and stay in the same hotel. Email if you are interested. Cheers.

Spanish Town Love Life

February 16th, 2015

Since I was conceived in Spanish Town, I am bound to tell this Valentine’s Day story.

Dave’s Sixth Street Marching Band arrives in his alley to play a tune for our hostess, Melissa. Ben’s trombone wails out the chorus, “Always Something There” ricocheting off the wooden clabbers, always something there…

Here comes Jamye strutting out of the alley, checking out my handmade Valentine heart that Mel made, she realizes she lost hers. It was a really good one, “BE MINE FOOL”. As she marched around Spanish Town earlier that morning with the band, she lost hers on the busy streets. Darn. The parade is about to arrive, I head down to Neff’s, as usual, chit chat, dance, drum. KK, Shannon, Christopher, Noura, Erin, Ashley, Kevin, E, Huck, Barbier, Jett, Said, Thomas, the Krewe ya know, parade arrives, sun’s in my eyes, bells clanging, floats, beads beads beads. Zoe finds Sunny, Jolie, Felicia, photos, flowers, music, Baby Cakes, Nathan on the float, fetch a bag for Zoe, she has a huge load of booty.

Parade is over, I’m standing in Neff’s driveway, I look down on the pavement of Spanish Town Road and lo and behold_there is a heart “BE MINE FOOL” emblazoned with silver marker. OMG, I pick it up, it has been trampled all during the parade. I know where I have to go: back to Melissa’s. I’m in awe, shocked, elated to show her what I found. Now I think of all the hearts that Jamye finds on her walks, photographs them, then posts to Face book. This heart is in line with all those hearts. but this one is hers, tangible. First I show Melissa on the porch, Jamye!, where’s Jamye? I walk in, down the hall. There she is- I show her! WOW! Full circle, missing piece, returned to it’s owner, I saved her Valentine. She notices it’s a little worse for wear. She loves it. always something there to remind me…

A bit later, I photograph Jamye with her reclaimed Valentine. Denton happens to be standing there, State Capitol in the background. A little while later, I tell her Denton is in the photo and she says that’s perfect, “post that everywhere”, she says; because she is heart-broken this week, the man she likes doesn’t like her back… and I would be the fool if I didn’t tell this story. Spanish town love life – conceived.




A Call for Arts Integration in EBRP Schools

February 3rd, 2015



Students from Louisiana A+ Schools speak about how arts integration has had a positive impact on their school and learning experience. The students discuss their learning experience, academic success and how school has become a fun learning experience. Louisiana A+ Schools Students Talk Arts Integration, Academic Success and Fun!  This video was made by Bennet Rhodes, ESO/POP



‘Beyond Bricks EBR’ participants call for more arts and music education, community schools with stable faculties


In a cavernous gym on Cadillac Street, a few blocks from Glen Oaks High School, about 40 people sat down Wednesday afternoon to say their piece about public education in East Baton Rouge Parish and what they think could make it better.

“We need to talk about the good things are happening in this district,” said the Rev. Clee Lowe, pastor of Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church, a church in Scotlandville that has many educators in its congregation.

“We need more stable faculty,” said Carolyn Johnson, a former elementary school principal, now program director of the character education program Manners of the Heart. She suggests multiyear teacher contracts as an answer.

Excerpt from

Royal Cyclops presents Drop the Needle – Tapestry by Carole King @Hartley/Vey Studio in the Shaw Center for the Arts, Baton Rouge, LA

January 27th, 2015

All Photos by  

Ensemble Extraordinaire: Betsy Braud-flute and soprano sax, John Smart- piano, Denise Brumfield-bass guitar,

Rick Price-drums and Johnny Rosetti-Fender guitar

Cast of Tapestry: Ashley MonaghanChloe Marie JohnsonCody KingEmily Kaye Miller,

Margaret Fowler AbrahamsMatthew SchwartzAlexis StephensonSharon Newton Schuldt

The Naturals: Susannah Craig, Jill Coury HackneyLeigh LaFargue and Melissa Eastin


My approach is different this time because I sat closer and the crowd was on their best behavior as Tapestry (1971) emerged in front of a true “listening room”. The room was arranged differently than last time with long narrow tables and lots of chairs. Everyone had a chair and we could all see each performance from left to right completely. Carole King‘s second album begs for the attention to be on the lead singer but I could see the talented ensemble shine as well.  I sat with my cousin, Sheryl, across from three ladies, one from Missouri, next from Tulsa and finally Annapolis, Maryland; they were visiting Baton Rouge for the weekend. They luckily bought tickets on the sidewalk just before the show. Rob Chidester of Royal Cyclops gave them a shout out from stage. He was glad they got in as they were gone when he went back to check on them. That is an example of the generosity Rob gives to his cast of musicians as well his audiences.


Song number 1, Ashley Monaghan(pictured) – Vocals for Ship of Fools breaks the ice with “I Feel the Earth Move.” As she sings and dances, you cannot help but think MOVE is the prime word because I was also emotionally transported to a higher plane. Power punch cha cha incredible. We see her again for song number 8, “Will You Lead”, with some smooth back up vocals by Margaret Marston, Leigh LaFargue and Susannah Craig.

Johnny Rosetti(right) of Rondo Hatton on Fender guitar was introduced by Rob Chidester as the go-to guy for Strata-caster vibes, hinting that we can see Johnny again at a special Baton Rouge Blues Fest show involving Excello Records...

whoo wee! Mouth full.




Song  number 2, “So Far Away” introduces us to Sharon Schuldt. Sharon expresses the loneliness of this song so convincingly that I cried a little, that kind of sharing on stage is a gift. Rob Chidester is the master of pairing the singer with the song and this is a perfect example. Sharon is a powerful presence on stage.

Johnny Rosetti-Fender guitar



Song number 3, “It’s Too Late” by Nancy Roppolo.  Her deep voice is a welcome addition to the superb female line up. The message of this song is delivered to us by Nancy’s lower tones and I prefer her voice to the original version. Carole King is undoubtedly a masterful songwriter but some of her songs are better conveyed by other voices.





“Home Again”, the fourth song, highlights Denise Brumfield’s vocals while she is a steadfast bass player, up there the entire show really forming that solid bass line though out the show. The word “marrow” in this song never made me feel so homesick as when she sings it. Her presence in the ensemble is invaluable, she’s got her spot on the stage and she really claims it.



Rick Price, the drummer, is also part of the thread of bass that gives that effortless structure to the line up. Each time I caught a glimpse of his expressions, he was proud to be there.



A sincere exploration of “Beautiful”, the number 5 song of the night,

by Emily Kaye Miller with John Smart backing her up on the keys. She will put a smile on your face bigger than you thought you could have.

Ashley Monaghan started off the show with happiness and Emily stretched it out like yoga for the face. 🙂



Margaret Marston (middle) is undoubtedly the consummate Gospel and Soul singer.

For “Way Over Yonder”, the sixth song of the album, she grabs on to heaven and brings it to us. I was ready to go to the place she sang about. I believed in the place she sang about. My soul is destined for way over yonder….

The Naturals are an extension of the powerful aura that Margaret radiates on stage. Their voices mesh and expand that sound space all the way into the corners of the room. Deep breathe…exhale, we are there. (Susannah Craig, Melissa Eastin, Margaret Marston, Jill Coury Hackney, Leigh LaFargue pictured) All lovely and wonderful women that sang Christmas music in a beautiful house on the lakes over the holidays.


duoSomething about the originality of this duo really hit me. Alexis Stephenson and Matthew Schwartz (both pictured) made this song their own. “You’ve got a Friend” is song number 7 of the night. Alexis really shined because Matthew is a generous partner. Another skillful choice on Rob’s part, each allowing their quiet natures to resonate honestly. Loved it. I want more of this, please. Acoustic sweetness.




Susannah Craig (far left, this photo does not represent this song literally. I needed a photo of Susannah), Ashley Monaghan, Margaret Marston, and Leigh LaFargue sing “Where You Lead” for the eighth song from Tapestry. Classic harmonies with four strong voices created a soulful rendition. A fuller sound to follow the duo and bring up the intensity a bit. I felt this was a climax in the show because of the strength and force of the group.



(pictured above Susannah Craig,  Melissa Eastin, Denise Brumfield, Jill Coury Hackney, Leigh LaFargue, Margaret Marston)


Song number 9, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”, by Chloe Marie Johnson (pictured) was effortlessly sang (Sheryl described this to me as we walked out of the show). I spoke to Chloe at

Louie’s Cafe and she loved her experience in Drop the Needle. I could tell because of her relaxed demeanor as Rob Chidester highlighted her charming vocal skills.

I loved the way she pushed up her glasses on to her nose every now and then.






“Smackwater Jack”, song number 10, had that intense Cody King style. His wardrobe is always amazing. As Rob Chidester said, it’s testosterone-time, balanced with Sharon Schuldt and

Chloe Marie Johnson flanking. Cody has one of the most positive and energetic presences on stage that I have ever seen. His songs are always a reflection of this attitude. This song has such a great jam to it, very fun.





Margaret Marston, photo by Jennifer Craft,

Madrigal and medieval, “Tapestry”, eleventh song and title track of the evening, was the ballast of the show, forming stability for the group. Margaret took this song to the next level. Placed on the album just before the end, it is a difficult song according to Rob Chidester and as I listen to my video of her performance, I hear a special modulation combined with complex wording. John Smart and Betsy Braud accompanied her flawless vocals. Close your eyes and picture the flute, piano, and her voice woven together like the song describes, feeling it… here.





John Smart, holy smokes, keys are central to Carole King’s songs and John played his heart and soul into each and everyone of these. Amazing musician.





Betsy Braud on flute and soprano sax is the cherry on top. She has excellent ease and flow, painting her sounds among the notes and voices with the proper intensities. She also sometimes plays on Monday evenings at the Roux House with Xero Skidmore and company.





And…to round out the mostly feminine evening, “Natural Woman” sang by Sharon Schuldt and Chloe Marie Johnson (not pictured, this photo does not represent the actual song. I needed a photo of Jill.) concludes the Tapestry album at a dozen songs. Someone in the audience let out a gasp as Sharon sang. We all agreed with it. Even Rob commented on having the same feeling backstage. Perfect.

But to create a 90 minute show, we heard a few more performances of songs written by Carole King and Goffin, her former husband. Many are songs that we know but were made popular by other musical groups.

(Jill Coury Hackney and Leigh LaFargue pictured)

I elect Alan Abrahams, Margaret Marston’s husband, and Chris Maxwell of Red Dragon as honorary hosts. Both in attendance, front and center. Both have done wonders in the music scene.

Elvis Costello up next….




Drop the Needle on “Beatles: The White Album” at Hartley/ Vey Theatre, Shaw Center for the Arts, Baton Rouge, LA

December 2nd, 2014

dtn Never has an example of such musical talent appeared before my eyes in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I admit this was my first Drop the Needle. As Rob Chidester parlayed the audience’s heckle, I realized a good fifty percent of the sold-out crowd were newbies like me. You’d have to be new to tell Rob he was talking too much. The exact critique I heard this past summer from a musician who had not even witnessed one show; “I heard Rob talks too much between songs.”. But it makes perfect sense: the range of instrument tuning in this album particularly creates gaps in the show that must be filled to propel the momentum along. Rob knows the background of each song well enough to put them in context and do just that, propel..the show.

From “Back in the USSR” I was awed completely, I honestly thought Matthew Schwartz of Pacifico was Eric Vaughn Holowacz at first but then full recognition kicked in, Pacifico’s lead singer, who I had just experienced at Red Star Bar with killer sound man, Mike Pinter at the helm that night, too. Jayme St. Romain of the Rakers, Margaret Marston, Jill Hackney and Leigh LaFargue form my favorite girl group named The Naturals.  I straight up love them. I didn’t get my wits back about me till “Yer Blues” when bassist, Denise Brumfield took the mic. So Jayme St. Romain’s “Dear Prudence” through Rick Price’s “Birthday” I was taking photos but not realizing that I needed to take notes literally. In hindsight, I realize that each singer/musician was paired to their song/songs for a multiple of reasons that struck me as: Rob really knows these people. And after talking to Jayme St. Romain about “Dear Prudence”, she confirmed this notion. She said; “I found it very easy to sing that song, both in terms of the key and the meaning, and I sang from a very deep place. And the really neat thing is that I didn’t choose it – it was given to me.”

One of the highlights for me was “Sexy Sadie” by Denton Hatcher because he is a whole package of suited goodness. He can carry a solo piece all the way through to the end. I might add that Clay Parker also aced his solo, “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?”. Billy Finney and his banjo absolutely enamored me, too. The four of these guys have equally compelling body gestures toward the audience and while I am on body gestures: Ben Herrington! His keyboard, trombone, accordion, Hammond B3 synth and singing “Cry, Baby, Cry” is a force to be reckoned with. Eric Schmitt nailed “Mother Nature’s Son” so sweetly.

Another highlight, “Helter Skelter”, arranged by Jacques Boudreaux, fiddler and some lead guitar, back in the corner wailing, I saw him, he really couldn’t hide that talent. Lee Barbier also soooo amazing on the variety of guitars that he sported during the evening. I appreciated the way this song gave some of the ensemble a piece to shine with. Rob’s intro also put the context into how this group is taking the song back from past incarnations that did not serve it well.

I kid you not a member of the US Times played guitar and sang “Birthday”.

Oh my Margaret Marston, “Blackbird” moistened my eyes. The female voice singing those words grabbed me by my shirt collar, pulled me up into the trees with the bird songs weaved in by James West of Slow Mile Swift with his lap top sampling. Revolution 9 was a modern take with marching band, real bar bottle crashing behind me, distortion, you know my name. I feel this is a yet to be fully-appreciated genre due to the talkers in the audience.

Jill Hackney and Leigh LaFargue in “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “Long, Long, Long” arm-in-arm as the Naturals embodied both ends of the emotional spectrum that is Paul and George’s music.

Here it is Tuesday night and I am back trying to finish up to get this puppy out the door for noon tomorrow. I’ve got an hour and half to finish  up before I go see Finding Fela.

This morning I saw Rob in the Shaw Center and he talked about “getting the casting right  then get out of the way!”. Well, he did that for sure. I know I did not write specifically about the strings section or the horns but they were all indispensable to the show.



The Fabric of Her Dreams: Exploring “The Ballast” by Anja Marais P3+BR

October 23rd, 2014


The Ballast: a solo exhibition by Anja Marais

17 October to 12 December

Firehouse Gallery, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge

427 Laurel St, Baton Rouge, LA 70801

(225) 344-8558


Upon entering the Firehouse Gallery, I am washed over by a very through story. The visual queues expand to reach plots then play out, unfold and even-flow to culminate in a waking dream. Anja Marais’s exhibition title is defined as “give stability to (a ship) by putting a heavy substance in its bilge”.  The many rocks, tied by sisal rope within her pieces refer to a intense heaviness that is hovering over a worn chair or dragging behind a Colonial-dressed female figure with a Clipper ship head. The rocks are carried by a faceless woman and buried in the earth repeatedly in the sepia-toned film projected on a sail-like fabric. Then water imagery surrounds, fills and connects individual pieces to each other similar to merging of rivers into gulfs and oceans. I am within her dream as witness unpacking, unleashing heavy rocks but again gathering them, repacking into that backpack. Walking on the water, walking away into the distance, open air alone free. Who is she, a child or a mother, both? Influenced by tidal ebbs, flows cyclical changing weight, rolling along towards another story.

Marais creates hybrid constructions allowing developed ideas to be seen from many elevations. Accessible to many, familiar materials like paper, cotton, jute. and bamboo hand-stitched together. At the same time real and transient, much like the mythology she feeds on. For me the fabrics of the veil and mixed media oil paintings draw me in. I squint my eyes to take in the details then de-focus a bit to catch a glimpse of the bigger picture. Both are satisfying. Again being immersed in the installation fully.

I still have waves of emotion inside as I write and think about this exhibition two days later. It touched me in many ways. My ten year old daughter was with me, asking questions about the rocks and faceless women further imprinting the images in my mind.

Visit the first P3+BR exhibition through December 12 at the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge’s Firehouse Gallery.

Still from Cathedral

Big Purse

June 9th, 2013

She carries a big purse that smells like leather and tobacco.

Pink lipstick and spearmint gum are always inside.

The long strap is frayed at the shoulder

where her well-lotioned hands

have gripped for nine-and-a-half years.

She drags the sack toward her across the solid oak table,

across the two large marks where his well-greased forearms

have eaten through the varnish

for nine-and-a-half years.

Nine-and-a-half years

since he cock-a-doodle-doo’ed

in their wedding bed.

Actually stood up in the bed,

struttin’ and scratchin’ like a Banty rooster.

She sparks up a Benson & Hedges Ultra Light Menthol 100,

chews all the sugar out of a stick of Wrigley’s

‘til she can snap it good between her back teeth,

smears some lotion on her hands,

and vacuums the green shag carpet.

She slips her big toe in the hole from the bullet that just missed his boots.

She glares at him, all splayed out on the black plastic couch,

comin’ down after three days with his best buddies,

Jack, Johnny, Jim, and Mary Jane.

She props her cigarette between her front teeth

and slides her finger up his slick forearms

and sees a smudge of red lipstick on the collar

of the shirt she ironed three days ago.

She takes a long drag and holds it in a few seconds before exhaling completely.

His mouth is agape under his snoring beak.

She flicks ashes in the hole,

making him sputter and spit, “You crazy bitch!”

then fall face down back into the black plastic.

She clicks off the vacuum cleaner

and gazes out the large picture window beyond where he lies,

while the motor whirrs down to a dim hum.

She puts on her pink lipstick, presses her lips together,

and unlocks the front door,

leaving her big purse on the solid oak table.


June 9th, 2013

I get up early these days.

Old bodies don’t need as much sleep, they say. Well, I don’t know who they is but what they say is hogwash. The only reason you get up early is either you have to pee or something aches. My hairbrush used to be filled with black hair and lots of it.  Now I am lucky if I have enough white fuzz to cover the scalp. As for aches, sitting cross-legged on a sidewalk was a piece of cake when Mary Nell and I…

Ollie, Ollie, Oxen free, Red Rover Red Rover, the sounds from the playground filled my ears. Recess was almost over. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Mrs. Jenkins, the teacher’s aide, check her watch getting ready to call, Line Up.

Mary Nell and I had been playing Jacks the whole recess. Sitting on the sidewalk, we tolerated the idiots who insisted on walking through us. It was on purpose, of course. There wasn’t a person in Granger Elementary who didn’t know about the fierce Jacks game waged every day on that stretch of pocked, dust fringed concrete just east of the girls’ bathrooms.                                              

My turn. Ninesies. I threw the ball high. My hand flashed.

Whew! Beat that Jacks ball again.  

Ninesies filled my closing fist until I dropped one.


Shoot, so close! I’ll get them next time.

Handing Mary Nell the ball, I dribbled the Jacks into her cupped hands. The ten pieces of metal each with four prongs wore vivid colors two grades ago but after innumerable scrapes across concrete sidewalks there was little color left. Onesies, twosies, threesies, the game proceeded until Mary Nell beat the ball and threw ninesies. I tensed as the Jacks left her hand…five together, two apart but close together, and then three scattered. Looking over the situation, Mary Nell readied her hand to throw the ball. The bell rang.

Mrs. Jenkins’ Line Up reached every corner of the play ground.

Mary Nell threw the ball.

Dragging feet stirred the hot, dry dust as resistance to the afternoon’s lessons prolonged every precious second of recess time.

Mrs. Jenkins spoke the second time.

Give me the Jacks.

The ball rolled off the sidewalk and made a slowing path through the dust. I went after it. Coming back I saw my friend, her red hair damp from the summer sun, tendrils loosed from the head band by perspiration and concentration, collecting the ten Jacks. Using her fingers, she opened the bag and put the Jacks in it. Taking the ball from my hand she dropped it in and carefully tied the drawstrings.

Handing it to Mrs. Jenkins, Mary Nell got in line with me right behind her. 

Mary Nell and I didn’t play Jacks for two weeks.

When Mrs. Jenkins returned the bag, she said, I hope this will teach you a lesson.

Mary Nell’s daughter called this morning; my friend died at 2:17 a.m.

We were fierce competitors. I will be joining her soon.

Wouldn’t you know that she would die on June 20th, the longest day of the year, just to be able get in a lot of practice before I arrive?

I wonder if she has found out if God knows what Mrs. Jenkins didn’t; that no one ever interrupts a Jacks game once the ball is thrown.

Summer Solstice Surfing

June 9th, 2013

Summer Solstice Surfing
Midsummer’s night’s eve:
they stroll through the Vieux Carre;
a spectre flits, flies, flicks.

Spectre casts her bewitched sparkles:
elle dit “chanterez, gouterez, aimerez”
she says “you will sing, taste, love”

“mais le billet sera votre Coeur.”
“but the cost will be your heart.”
The couple becomes besotted;

the earth continues axial
slant towards its star. More
magic glitter flashes;

they blink and open their eyes
to a beach party, sand grits
their suddenly shoeless feet.

Over the roar of the ocean,
the sound of The Beach Boys
singing “Catch a Wave”

serenades them. The door
of a 1965 Chrysler Woody
swings open. Moondoggy shouts,

“Gidget, baby, let’s hang ten;
surf’s up!”



Dine Out! Save Lives!

March 21st, 2013

Dine Out! Save Lives! Baton Rouge’s newest event joins a national campaign to raise awareness and funds to assist those living with HIV and AIDS. By now you’ve heard the news: Per capita, Baton Rouge has more people living with AIDS than any other major city in the country. So it’s appropriate that a local agency, HIV/AIDS Alliance (HAART), has joined the nationwide Dining Out for Life campaign.

On April 25th get your friends and family together to support a great cause, while enjoying some of the best food that Baton Rouge has to offer.

There are more than 5,000 of our friends, neighbors and family members in the Baton Rouge area who are living with HIV infection or AIDS. One-third of those are women. There are about 300 new cases of HIV diagnosed each year. Most acquired the infection through unprotected sex, not realizing the risk they were exposing themselves to. Sometimes, even though they were faithful, their partner wasn’t,  and the disease is most disproportionately affecting the African-American population. 85% of those diagnosed with HIV last year were black. But it’s not who you are; it’s what you do. So keep your wits, choose carefully, ASK their status then wrap it up anyway. Get tested asap if you “forget”.

For free confidential HIV testing, call HAART at 927-1269, or come by our office at 4550 North Blvd, near BRCC. No appointment needed. Don’t forget — Stay Safe!

Dine Out for Life with HAART on April 25th at Bistro Byronz, California Pizza Kitchen, Mestizo, Monjuni’s, and Stroube’s. Learn more at or