Poor Man’s Provence: Finding Myself in Cajun Louisiana

Poor Mans Provence

Award-winning syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson visits the library for a special presentation and book signing of her new book Poor Man’s Provence: Finding Myself in Cajun Louisiana. Rheta has covered the South for over three decades as a newspaper reporter and columnist. She writes about ordinary but fascinating people, mining for universal meaning in individual stories.

Her awards include the Ernie Pyle Memorial Award for human interest reporting, the Headliner Award for commentary, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award for commentary. In 1991, she was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

Syndicated by King Features of New York, her column appears in about 50 papers nationwide. She is the author of several books, including Good Grief: The Story of Charles M. Schulz (1989). In 2000, she wrote the text for a book of photographs entitled Georgia.

A native of Colquitt, Georgia, Rheta grew up in Montgomery, Alabama and studied journalism at Auburn University. She has lived and worked in the South all her life.

Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Time: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Location: Main Library

For more information, call 225-231-3745.


We all buy things that we don’t need in the end, but right now, we all should be watching what we spend.

Spendster.org is a kind of online confessional — where you can confess about the stuff you shouldn’t have spent your money on. You know you want to tell somebody about that $2500 you spent on that silly tablet computer…

But the REAL purpose of Spendster isn’t to make you feel guilty about spending money — it’s to give you a chance to talk about what you would do with that money if you still had it today. It’s a real eye-opening experience when you think about it!

Spendster has videos, photos, message boards, an interactive calculator, and articles to help you become a better spender. In short, it’s a great opportunity to learn how and where you spend money.

So give Spendster a whirl — and learn to think before you spend that cash and regret it later.

How Do I Get A Hunting License in Lousiana?

Everyone who hunts in Louisiana is also required to have a license. Hunting licenses are regulated by the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). Annual licenses go on sale June 1st of each year and expire June 30th of the next year.

  • The first thing to do before applying for a hunting license is to complete a Hunter Safety Course that is approved by the LDWF. A listing by Parish of when courses are offered can be found here: Hunter Education. There are exceptions to this for active military or veterans, for certified law enforcement officers and for those born before September 1st, 1969
  • There are a variety of different licenses that can be bought depending on the type of animal you want to hunt, the type of weapon you wish to use and the duration, whether you wish to hunt for a whole season or just a few days. There is a step by step tutorial that will ask you questions to help you determining what kind of license that you need. This can be found by clicking here: License Wizard
  • The license fees vary greatly between residents and non-residents of Louisiana. It may be necessary to show documentation proving Louisiana residency such as a Louisiana driver’s license or motor vehicle registration. List of Residency Requirements
  • To purchase your license you can call 1-888-765-2602 and pay using a visa or MasterCard or you can apply online here

For a fishing license you can follow the same steps and use the same Wildlife and Fisheries online resources, other than the Hunter Education course as that is not necessary.

American Diabetes Month

Did you know that nearly 24 million people in the US have diabetes? And around 57 million American adults are estimated to have prediabetes — a condition that can lead to full-blown Type II diabetes if it’s not managed properly. In Louisiana alone, over 250,000 folks are diabetic — and over 130,000 of them are between the ages of 45 and 64.

Diabetes can cause heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and blindness. Poor circulation related to diabetes can lead to amputations, especially of the feet and legs. But diabetes doesn’t have to be deadly or debilitating. With proper diet and weight control, adult-onset diabetes can be avoided. And most diabetes can be controlled with lifestyle changes and medication.

November is American Diabetes Month — a time to raise awareness of this potentially debilitating disease, its causes and treatment. Remember that diabetes is treatable and, in many cases, preventable. If you’re concerned about diabetes, or just want to know more about it, you should talk to your doctor. Or you can visit one of the websites listed below.

Diabetes FAQs
About Diabetes & Prediabetes
MedlinePlus Diabetes
Living with Diabetes


A good vocabulary can open doors. If yours needs a little work, why not have a little fun improving it and do something for others at the same time. FreeRice.com can help!

FreeRice.com is an internet game with two goals: to provide a free educational experience and to end world hunger — and YOU can participate. Just play the game (the free educational goal).

All you have to do is define each word that’s displayed by choosing the correct definition from a list of 4 choices. If you answer correctly, FreeRice will donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. If you miss the answer, not to worry! You’ll get a second chance to get it right. It’s a win-win proposition. You’ll help feed the world’s hungry people and you’ll learn a whole lot of new words in the process.

Now if you think that 20 grains of rice per answer is a pretty small amount consider this… To date, FreeRice.com has donated 49,105,129,470 grains of rice. That’s approximately 1,693,280 pounds of food!

Visit FreeRice.com and help yourself while helping others worldwide.

Yale Open Courses

Yale Open Courses

You know you want an Ivy League education (I know I do…). But let’s face it, the Ivy League is probably out of your league — way too expensive and scholarships are hard to come by.

Well those days are over!! Yale Open Courses lets you attend the Ivy League for FREE!

Open Courses offers actual Yale classes in several disciplines via the internet. Analyze Milton’s poetry; learn about dark matter in Astronomy; take a class in game theory or financial markets. It’s all online and taught by real Yale professors. What could be better? Well, you don’t have to worry about your grade…

Check out Yale Open Courses and begin the educational experience you’ve always dreamed of.

How to File a Consumer Complaint

So many different agencies handle consumer complaints, that it’s confusing to figure out which agency you should complain to. For example, should you contact the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office or the Public Service Commission? There’s so much division of jurisdiction that one might be tempted to file a complaint about it. 😉 But before you do that, try looking at some of the following charts and links as a guide.

The Baton Rouge Better Business Bureau handles complaints that involve buyers and sellers, where there is an item that has been sold or has been advertised for sale. Complaints may be filed by either a consumer or another business.

The Better Business Bureau will not handle:

  • Anonymous complaints
  • Allegations of discrimination or violations of constitutional rights
  • Complaints involving professionals such as lawyers or doctors (unless it involves billing procedures)
  • Debt collection
  • Disputes that are already in litigation

BBB of South Central Louisiana

Phone: (225) 346-5222
Fax: (225) 346-1029
748 Main Street
Baton Rouge LA 70802

Most complaints against businesses located in Louisiana should be directed to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. However, complaints about certains types of businesses, such as utility companies, for example, will be directed to other agencies. Refer to the following chart.

If your complaint concerns: Then contact:
Landlords & tenants
Credit issues
Collection agencies
Home improvements and construction
Home appliances and furnishings
Health clubs
Charitable solicitations
Work-at-home programs
Multilevel marketing/business opportunities.

Office of the Louisiana Attorney General
Consumer Protection Section

P.O. Box 94005
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9005
Disaster Hotline: 1-800-351-4889

Motor Carriers
Utilities such as Electric, Gas, Water and Sewage

Louisiana Public Service Commission

602 North 5th Street
12th Floor
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
(225) 342-4404

Filing a Complaint With the Louisiana Public Service Commission

Insurance companies, agents and adjusters

Louisiana Department of Insurance

Post Office Box 94214
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
General Information: 1-800-259-5300 or 1-800-259-5301
Direct Telephone numbers: (225) 342-5900 or (225) 342-0895

Insurance Fraud

Complaints against medical professionals should be filed with the appropriate licensing or regulatory agency. Refer to the following chart to find the correct agency, with a link to their website and contact information.

Type of professional Regulatory board or agency
Physicians (MD and D0)
Acupuncturist Assistants
Athletic Trainers
Clin Exercise Physiologists
Clin Laboratory Personnel
Midwives (lay)
Occupational Therapists
Occupational Therapy Assistants
Physician Assistants
Polysomnograph Personnel
Radiological Technologists
Respiratory Therapists

Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners

630 Camp Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 568-6820


Louisiana State Board of Chiropractic Examiners

8621 Summa Avenue, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70809
(225) 765-2322

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)
Nurse Practitioners

Louisiana State Board of Nursing

17373 Perkins Rd
Baton Rouge LA 70810
(225) 755-7500


Louisiana State Board of Dentistry

365 Canal St, Suite 2680, New Orleans LA 70130
(504) 568-8574


Louisiana State Board of Optometry Examiners

P.O. Box 555
Oakdale, LA 71463
(318) 335-2989

Licensed Practical Nurses

Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners

3421 N Causeway Blvd, Ste 505
Metairie, LA 70002
(504) 838-5791


Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists

8280 YMCA Plaza, One Oak Square, Bldg 8B, Baton Rouge LA 70810
(225) 763-3968

Here’s some miscellaneous state agencies:

Concerning the operation of state government

Louisiana Office of Inspector General

P.O. Box 94095
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9095
(225) 342-4262

Filing a Complaint

Employee complaints against employers

Louisiana Workforce Commission

1001 North 23rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-3338
(225) 342-3111

The following federal agencies handle consumer complaints.


Take advantage of free, individual, legal counseling sessions offered by the Pro Bono Project of the Baton Rouge Bar Association. Area attorneys will be available for confidential, one-on-one, 15 minute sessions for legal advice on a first come, first served basis at the Main Library on Saturday, October 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Experts will be in the areas of Business (Collections, Consumer Transactions, Insurance Disputes, Sale/Purchase), Criminal (Felony, Traffic, Misdemeanor, Juvenile), Education (General), Employment (Unemployment Compensation, Discrimination), Family (Adoption, Custody/Visitation, Property Settlement, Divorce, Support), Malpractice (Medical), Real Estate (Litigation, Property Transfer), Torts (Negligence, Product Liability), and other specific areas of law. For more information, call (225) 231-3746.

Disaster Relief for Small Business

Louisiana Economic Development (LED), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network (LSBDC) and regional economic development partners announced the opening of five Business Counseling Centers, created to assist businesses adversely affected by Hurricane Gustav.

"The centers, located in Baton Rouge, Metairie, Thibodaux, Carencro and Alexandria will provide free, one-on-one consultations with SBA customer service representatives and LSBDC counselors. Services include assessing business economic injury, assistance with SBA Disaster Loan program, evaluating the business's strength, cash flow projections and most importantly, a review of all options to ensure each business makes the right financial decisions."

Louisiana Business Counseling Center locations are listed below:

Louisiana Technology Park, LLC
7117 Florida Boulevard
Baton Rouge, La. 70806

LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region
UNO Jefferson Center
3330 N. Causeway, Suite 422
Metairie, La. 70002

South Louisiana Economic Business Assistance Center
629 East First St.
Thibodaux, La. 70301
985.446.6023 (active 9.12.08)

Enterprise Center of Louisiana
3419 N.W. Evangeline Thruway
Carencro, La. 70520-9000

LSBDC at Alexandria
Dunbar Plaza Suite 114
3600 Jackson Street Extension
Alexandria, La. 71303

Read the entire September 11, 2008 press release here.