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DeeDee’s Christmas Cookies

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DeeDee’s Christmas Cookies

LemonCookies2My great Aunt Concetta “DeeDee” DeLerno was a great cook, or so I am told. Unfortunately, I never met Aunt DeeDee. But, even though I know I am my mother’s daughter, every time I look in the mirror (I am the spitting image of her), I also know that I am related to my grandfather’s sister, Concetta DeLerno. I make up my own recipes, I like the science of cooking as much as the ritual, and I KNOW food. I have Mediterranean blood, love red wine, garlic and olive oil. I am Italian even though I don’t look it. I wish I had gotten to know Aunt DeeDee and would have loved to cook with her! This simple cookie recipe reminds me of my roots in Ustica and Brindisi, Italy. I use my Meyer Lemons off the bush in the front yard. Thanks for the recipe Aunt DeeDee!

½ lb. butter
4 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 whole lemon (grated and juice)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tarter


Sift flour once. Sift flour again with cream of tartar and baking soda.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, vanilla and lemon. Fold in flour mixture.

Roll out with rolling pin and use cookie cutter.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Oak Alley Plantation

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Oak Alley PlantationOak Alley Plantation is located on the Mississippi River, on River Road in Vacherie, St. James Parish. Called the Grande Dame of the Great River Road, it is named after its distinguishing feature, an alley or canopied path created by a double row of live oaks, about 800 feet long, which runs between the house and the Mississippi River. The oaks were planted in the early 18th century, long before the present house was built. The property is composed of 25 acres of history and romance, regret and rebirth, tragedy and triumph.

At Oak Alley, you can enjoy a professionally guided tour of the Big House; visit the Civil War Encampment; Witness the “Slavery at Oak Alley” exhibit; explore 25 historic acres; see newly planted pecan trees commemorating Antoine, an enslaved gardener who grafted the first paper shell pecan; visit the Blacksmith Shop; stroll the magnificent alley of 300 year old live oak trees leading a quarter mile to the Mississippi River; and shop in the Gift Shop. There is also a restaurant on the property offering Cajun/Creole Cuisine. Cottages on the property offer an overnight stay.

Oak Alley was built, along with other plantations, when the River Region sugar industry was flourishing. Many of these homes have disappeared by the passage of time, but Oak Alley remains as a testimonial to the Old South’s Golden Age.

It was restored in 1925 by Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Stewart, carefully planned so that the inclusion of modern plumbing and kitchen facilities would conform to the original architectural format.

Shortly before her death in 1972, Josephine Armstrong Stewart created the Oak Alley Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit , charitable, literary, educational trust, so that, through the love and support of those who value a region’s link to the past, the mansion and 25 acres of grounds would endure.

Zeb Mayhew, Jr., Josephine Stewart’s great-nephew jumped at the opportunity to take over the Oak Alley Foundation.

For more information, visit

For directions to the plantation, visit:

Sherri Short, Artist

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BullSherri Short, a Baton Rouge Artist, will be at The Stockade for Highland Nights this Friday, November 14th. Here’s a little information about Sherry:

OysterSuffering from the empty nest syndrome and finding herself with time on her hands, Sherri started painting classes with her neighbor a few years ago. She has a priceless eye for putting things together whether it is interior design, clothing, store merchandising, flower arranging, cooking, etc. A natural talent that had a little help from her friend, Sherri has continued to take lessons and grow from one artistic medium to another. At The Stockade she will show her recent oysters in oil!



Sandy Engels of The Purple Sage

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Sandy EngelsSandy Engels of The Purple Sage will join us at The Stockade for Highland Nights this Friday, November 14th.

Sandy’s tagline, “Wise Skincare with a Bit of Southern Sass” is a good indication of the philosophy of Sandy and her products. Her company, Purple Sage, is a touch of Sass (think purple), Wisdom (that’s the Sage), and Rebel (that’s me, the owner).Patchouli-Natural-Soap_

Sandy wanted to make soap since she was a child and describes her fascination with that project in her bio on her website, The Purple Sage.

Lavender-LotionIn addition to hand blended soaps, her company makes lotions, creams for pain discomfort, foot creams, foaming milk baths, bath fizzies, facial toners, sugar scrubs, room sprays, body sprays, laundry powder, and dishwasher cubes.



Lavender-Mist_ Body-Butter_

Whitney Plantation

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Main HouseWhitney Plantation, located between Wallace and Edgard in St. John the Baptist Parish, will open its doors to the public for the first time in its 262 year history on December 8, 2014. Visitors will be immersed in the world of an 1830’s sugar plantation and the world of the people whose labor made it one of the most successful in Louisiana. It is a genuine landmark built by African slaves and their descendants. The site is now dedicated to the interpretation of slavery along the River Road.

Whitney Plantation tours will be offered every day except Tuesday, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. It is located approximately 55 miles from Baton Rouge and makes an easy day-trip for guests of The Stockade.

The photos here were taken during a preview tour of the plantation. Refer to the website for more photos and read more about the fascinating history of this plantation:

John Cummings, Owner, Giving Tour

John Cummings, Owner, Giving Tour

Wooden Sculptures of Slave Children

Wooden Sculptures of Slave Children

Monument to Known Slaves of Whitney

Monument to Known Slaves of Whitney

Sculpture of Angel Holding Deceased Slave Baby

Sculpture of Angel Holding Deceased Slave Baby

Slave Cabin with Sugar Kettles

Slave Cabin with Sugar Kettles

Lee Maxwell

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LampLee Maxwell will be at The Stockade for Highland Nights on Friday, November 14, 2014 and will display and offer for sale his Louisiana oyster shell creations.

After Katrina, Lee was watching television and saw a house in the 9th ward with a cross leaning against the porch made of oyster shells.  He duplicated it and called it a “Katrina Cross” selling them with profits going to the Katrina fund for fisherman.  Then he moved on to other decorative items made of Louisiana oyster shells…like lamp bases, ring holders, Christmas decor, wreaths, yard crosses, etc.  His oyster items can be found in Henderson, La. at The Marketplace at Hwy 115 and in Baton Rouge at Mosaic Gardens.



Photo  Oyster Tray   Oyster Photo  Oyster Tree

Noel Rathe of Rural Life Woodworks

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Noel Rathe PhotoThe Stockade welcomes Noel Rathe of Rural Life Woodworks as a returning artist to Highland Nights on November 14, 2014.

Noel creates functional works of art from wood, using the unique grain patterns and selectively cutting, riving and shaping the wood to expose Table and Chairsthe beauty God has put into wood. This is his passion. Both beautiful and useful, his kitchen utensils can be hung for display and are comfortable to use in food preparation and serving family and guests. Noel has a Facebook page for Rural Life Woodwords at Look up his page for examples of his art and whimsy. He can be reached, for special orders, at or 225-975-7120.


Debbie Buco of Empty Nest Pottery

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Debbie Buco PhotoDebbie Buco of Empty Nest Pottery in Baton Rouge will be at The Stockade for Highland Nights on November 14, 2014. She has been doing business as Empty Nest Enterprises, LLC since 2009.

Debbie fell in love with clay while taking classes in throwing on the wheel at LSU. (No, not after watching that steamy film scene in “Ghost” which everyone always asks her about!) Debbie says, “Working with clay on a potter’s wheel is like a dance – trying to ‘lead’ the clay into the form that you envision without having the whole thing collapse into a pile of mush. It is one of the most satisfying and the most frustrating things that I have ever done. My goal is to become the best potter that I can be and to create beautiful functional forms from the clay. I make pottery by throwing on a potter’s wheel or by hand building, or by combining these techniques.

Photo 1The process of making pottery consists of forming clay on the wheel or by hand, trimming the piece, adding surface decoration, bisque firing, glazing, and the final glaze firing.

ProcessSurface decoration has become a major component of my work with clay. I love to draw and then carve designs into different color underglazes on a piece. I have been using the sgraffito and mishima techniques to draw Louisiana wildlife. Some of my favorites are pelicans, alligators, herons, ducks, and of course, chickens!

Sgraffito is Italian for “scratching” and the design is carved with a very small V-shaped tool. This is like drawing backwards because I remove the background underglaze revealing the white clay body. The picture is what is left uncarved.

Mishima results in a fine line drawing done in black underglaze on the piece of pottery. To achieve this effect, I use a very sharp pointed tool to draw my picture into the leather hard clay. The black underglaze is inlayed into the crevice and then wiped away with a damp sponge. After bisque firing, additional underglaze colors are hand painted on to create a water color effect.

Red PlateAll of my pottery is glazed in lead free and food safe glazes.

I also make clergy stoles — those beautiful things that pastors and priests wear around their necks during church services! I will be opening an Etsy shop called Heart, Mind, and Stole soon to showcase these.

There are many potters who are making many beautiful things! The wonderment of it is that each of us could use the same clay, the same tools, glazes, and underglazes, and yet, create vastly different kinds of art. I think my work is unique because it showcases the life that I live here in Louisiana. I love the outdoors and wildlife and I try to share that beauty with others through my pottery.

Pottery is both exhilarating and frustrating. It is a complex and constant journey toward meeting my own expectations as a ceramic artist. I am grateful to have the opportunity to play in clay every day. Creating makes me happy!”



Debbie Buco Photo grandchildDebbie was born and raised in Baton Rouge. She received her BS degree from LSU in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling, +30 in Gifted Education. She took pottery throwing lessons while at LSU. Debbie taught elementary and middle school gifted students in East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes for 28 years before retiring in 2009.

In addition to seeing Debbie and her work at The Stockade during Highland Nights, you can see her pottery at the Baton Rouge Arts Market, held downtown on the 1st Saturday of every month and the first 3 Saturdays in December; Lagniappe Gallery, and Knits by Nana (knitting bowls only).

Debbie has visited India and wandered through the Taj Mahal (in 112 degree blistering sunshine!). She has snorkeled off of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. She also walked through the Daintree Rainforest there. She has given birth to and raised 4 delightful sons and has 3 equally delightful grandchildren. Debbie raises hens (who provide delicious breakfasts)! She wrote an archeology activity guide about Poverty Point entitled “Expeditions”, which includes lessons and activities to help students learn about the prehistoric culture in northeastern Louisiana. Poverty Point was recently chosen to be a World Heritage site! Check it out—it’s in your local library! She and her husband are beekeepers and have 5 hives in their side yard. They occasionally make mead – a honey wine. Their peach ginger mead is awesome!

Photo Photo 6 Photo 4 Photo 3 Green Plate1 Butterfly Vase

Spontaneous Combustion

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spontaneous Combustion logo (3)Always at delight at The Stockade for any event is Spontaneous Combustion. This unique group will be with us once again for Highland Nights on Friday, November 14, 2014.

Spontaneous Combustion is a live art event made up of local musicians, painters, sculptors, and other artists invested in spreading the love of Musicans at Stockadeart in the Greater Baton Rouge Area community. A wide array of musicians improvise, while painters and sculptors create on various mediums. During the event, audience members can buy raffle tickets for $5 apiece, and place them in a bowl assigned to their favorite artist or piece of work. There is a drawing near the end of the event, and the winners take the art home! It’s amazing to watch the creative process unfold. Join the art cabal!

Photo-Spontaneous CombustionSee you at The Stockade for Highland Nights!





Janene M. Grodesky, Artist

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The Stockade is proud to have Janene Grodesky display her artwork with us for Highland Nights on Friday, November 14, 2014.

With a Ph.D in Kinesiology from LSU, Grodesky has a passion for studying and incorporating movement into her works. She also credits a childhood spent with a Zoologist father as influencing her love of biology and nature as reflected in her adult works. She asserts a natural interconnectedness in her expression through texture, color, and dimension. She enjoys deconstructing the “micro- world” and strives to Photo 2 - JaneneGrodeskyplace it in the “macro,” or cosmological context. Grodesky has been actively showing her work for over 10 years. She has been invited to participate in various gallery shows, juried events, and a few “outsider” collections. She won the People’s Choice Award for Art Melt 2013 for her work “Lepidoptera,” which deconstructs and abstracts a butterfly wing. She currently resides in Baton Rouge with her husband, three dogs, and five cats. She is co-owner of One Heart Yoga Center. She can be reached at


Photo 8 - Janene Grodesky   Photo 7 - Janene Grodesky  Photo 6 - Janene Grodesky  Photo 5 - Janene Grodesky   Photo 4 - Janene Grodesky

Photo 1 - Janene Grodesky  Photo 3 - Janene Grodesky