|A full year is too long to wait to check up on this dynamic group|
A full year is simply too long to wait before checking up on the dynamic members of our 2012 class of People to Watch. Each is carving up the year in unique ways, and here are quick updates on five of them.
In addition to his Los Angeles office, renowned interior designer and television personality Kenneth Brown can now claim an official footprint on his hometown. This spring the Parkview Baptist alum opened his first local office in the pre-Victorian Tessier Building downtown.
“It has been a lot of fun creating a modern interior within the oldest building in Baton Rouge,” Brown says.
Since moving home last year, Brown has completed projects with an international resort, a boutique hotel in Hollywood, a ranch in Tucson and more. But the project he's fired up about now is the small gallery for showcasing high-end furniture and artwork hand-picked by Brown that is set to open within his office soon.
“While I still travel back and forth to Los Angeles,” Brown says, “it's so exciting to see my business grow in the South.”
In May, LSU's stylish young women's basketball coach gave birth to a baby girl, Justice, between the SEC and NCAA tournaments. Caldwell sported a baby bump through the bulk of league play, and her contractions began as her adrenalin swelled just after the team's SEC Championship game loss to Tennessee. But before going to see her doctor, she and partner Justin Fargas stopped for brunch. Her last meal before becoming a parent? Louie's Café.
In March, Dixon's Mentorship Academy was the first local school to sign on with the BR Walls Project. The new arts group's second mural will repaint the walls of the Academy's downtown campus. In May, Facebook chose Dixon as one of only two featured educators nationally to discuss the use of Facebook in academics.
“We will continue to see these collaborative [social media] tools further embraced by teachers to help extend learning and engagement beyond the traditional time and place constraints of the classroom,” Dixon told the social networking site. Dixon is working on multiple projects, and his new guidebook, Social Media for School Leaders, is slated for publication this fall.
Coach Les Miles deferred his decision on this former stand-out goalkeeper's leg until August training camp, but Isom's gender-crossing tryout as a placekicker for LSU football did make headlines and earned the motivational speaker and LSU senior interviews on CBS This Morning, ESPN2 and the Ellen deGeneres Show. She told deGeneres that working out with football players was a “whole other level of intensity,” and, of course, really smelly.
Most important, Isom says, the exposure has given her a wider platform to discuss her spiritual faith. “It's just now hitting me that I just got to legitimately talk about Jesus on ESPN for like 10 minutes straight,” she posted to Facebook in May. “This has to rank as a top 5 lifetime memory.”
As one of the youngest state legislators on the floor this year, freshman Rep. Ted James knows now more than ever that it takes a few sessions to get one's feet on the ground in the high-stakes scrabble of Louisiana lawmaking.
With Gov. Jindal's education reforms passed—James liked some parts of those bills, but not the way they were presented or passed—the 30-year-old Democrat threw his effort into stopping the bill that would have created a breakaway school district in Southeastern East Baton Rouge Parish. He and his supporters succeeded.
So how would he describe the mood of his first session?
“It depends who you ask, but for me, it's been somewhat depressing seeing the human effect of the cuts to health care and education, then to see legislators give tax rebates to the Hornets,” James says. “Some of my colleagues are still not getting to the heart of the most important issues.”
James is spending this summer and fall establishing his private law practice and reaching out to the civic associations and churches of his district on the issues he feels most passionate about: education and retirement.
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Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote and Chef Chris Wadsworth hosted the Bad Guys, Good Eats! dinner at Restaurant IPO Wednesday night. The dinner was themed around famous movie villains, pairing cocktails and ales with plates of food resembling famous baddies like The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and many others. The highlights of the night were the three middle courses—a black bean soup laced with blood sausage to signify Lord Voldemort, a brace of coneys on black eyed peas resembling Sauron, and lamb medallions atop a fava bean puree to pay homage to the famous favorite of Hannibal Lector.
Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.
These swimsuits will keep you stylish all summer long
Better Block BR
On Saturday the two blocks between Bedford and Beverly drives on April 13, 2013, residents will get to see a model of what Government Street could look like if we push local and state officials to update the roadway to a safer, more "complete street" model.