See Rock City

See Rock City

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Slidell, LA

Holiday Cheer

Slidell loves to spread the holiday magic with beautiful displays throughout the city.

Slidell (pronounced /slˈaɪdɛl/) is a city situated on the northeast shore of Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 25,695 at the 2000 census. The Greater Slidell Community has a population of about 90,000. It is part of the New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area.


John Slidell

Slidell was founded on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in 1882 and 1883 during construction of the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad (N.O.N.E.). The N.O.N.E. line connected New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi. The town was named in honor of American politician John Slidell, and officially chartered by the Louisiana State Legislature in 1888.

Heritage Park

A favorite spot in Slidell is Heritage Park! Families can spend an afternoon picnicing, playing on the playground, walking, boating or enjoying one of the many festivals and events that take place here.

Slidell, Louisiana was founded around 1882 during construction of a major new railroad from New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi, connecting there with Cincinnati, Ohio and eventually with New York, NY. The New Orleans and Northeastern (n.o.n.e.) Railroad established a building camp at first high ground north of Lake Pontchartrain which eventually grew into the city. Slidell was chartered as a town in 1888 by the Louisiana legislature.

Sometime prior to Slidell’s formal incorporation in 1888, its first streets were laid out in a grid pattern, mostly east of the railroad, running three blocks along the road by four blocks deep. Bonfouca Street, now Bayou Lane, lay in the short stretch between the railroad and the bayou. East of the tracks, the north-south streets were Bayou (now Front), First, Second, Third and Fourth. The east-west streets were Fremaux, Erlanger, Bouscaren and Cousin.

Meet the Press

Four of the area's youngest "reporters" sent this note to Mayor Ben O. Morris.

Erlanger, slightly wider than the others and designated as an avenue, was named by Baron Frederick Erlanger, head of the banking syndicate which financed the railway. Baron Erlanger named the town for his deceased father-in-law, John Slidell, who had been a prominent state, national and confederate political figure. Col. Leon J. Fremaux, a prominent Louisiana engineer and planner, drew the original plans for Slidell and named Fremaux Avenue for himself. Bouscaren Street was named for G. Bouscaren, the chief engineering officer of the railroad. Cousin Street took its name from the locally prominent Cousin family.

View of First Street in the early 1900's

In the thirty or so years after its founding, Slidell developed a creosote plant, one of the country’s largest brick manufacturing facilities, a large lumber mill and a shipyard. The Slidell shipyard contributed significantly to the national effort in both World Wars. Slidell residents worked in New Orleans ship, tank and airplane construction during World War II.

Swing Time

The Slidell Community Playground is one of the most popular parks in Slidell.

In the 1960’s, Slidell began to assume its modern profile as the middle of three local sites in NASA’s lunar landing program: Michoud assembly facility in New Orleans, the computer facility in Slidell, and the Mississippi test facility in Hancock County, Mississippi.

Bayou Jamming!

Sunday Bayou Jam concerts in Heritage Park are fun for the young and the young at heart.

Slidell is located at the southeastern tip of St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana's famous Ozone Belt. It is about three miles from the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and is surrounded by rivers and bayous. The largest municipality in the parish, Slidell has grown from a population of 364 in 1890 to 24,142 in 1990; Slidell's 1999 population is estimated to be 32,000. Today, Slidell continues to deal with urban planning and growth, of preserving a sense of present and past, while accommodating an ever increasing number of residents.

Slidell Train Station

Station Master Eugene Neuhauser (third from left) standing in front of the original Slidell Train Station in the late 19th Century. The station was located on the west side of the railroad tracks between Maine and Pennsylvania Streets.


Slidell...There is Something for Everyone!

Slidell is located in Southeastern Louisiana just north of New Orleans and west of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, two areas known for great entertainment. As part of St. Tammany Parish, Slidell boasts a flourishing business community, ample social calendar, and a nationally ranked school system. Slidell enjoys many community activities such as the Fourth of July fair and fireworks extravaganza, Mardi Gras parades and balls, the annual St. Tammany Parish Trade Fair, theatrical performances, and much more.

One of Slidell's best known features is its exquisite Antique District, which sponsors an Antique Street Fair in April and October. Contact them by calling 985-641-6316. Slidell also attracts marine lovers, as it borders Lake Pontchartrain and features beautiful marinas. Don’t forget about the food! Slidell features an abundance of extraordinary restaurants specializing in everything from local Cajun and Creole favorites to exotic cuisine's from across the world. There is something for everyone here in fair Slidell.

King Kahuna!

City of Slidell mayor, Ben Morris, and the "Hula Girls" enjoying the Louisiana Philharmonic outdoor concert in May.

In the 1880's, there was no easy way to transport goods from New Orleans to points north. It was either go up the Mississippi River or ferry across Lake Pontchartrain - only to be faced with the slow trek across the Honey Island Swamp. Then came the railroad, catalyst for Slidell's growth in the late 1800s. It provided access to and from New Orleans for all points north, and 19th century Slidell, the area now known as Olde Towne, experienced a period of stable growth as a new transportation era began.

The Old Jail

Our old jail, now the Slidell Museum, displays the history of our city.

Stores, hotels and saloons (as many as 14 operated on Front Street above Fremaux Avenue) provided for the needs of the growing community. Later, when automobiles became the mode of travel, U.S. Highway 11, running next to the railroad, brought many travelers through Slidell on their way to the Gulf Coast, Birmingham and beyond. As companies such as St. Joe Brickwork's and Southern Shipbuilding attracted more workers, Slidell grew to the point that, at one time, a two-story merchandise store was built for Salmen Company employees to buy goods with "scrip" they got as pay. In the early decades of this century the railroad was ideal transportation for the logging industry, as the woodlands north of Lake Pontchartrain became more accessible. Many roads leading east from Front Street (and the rail line), like Gause Road and Brown's Switch Road, were originally light rail lines that ended at the Pearl River Swamp and its seemingly endless supply of cypress trees. Slidell continued to grow, and as subdivisions popped up in the '50s, so did commuters, many taking the bus across the Highway 11 bridge to New Orleans. Then came the interstate highway system in the mid-'60s. US 11 (Front Street) and the railroad aren't used as much for shipping or travel anymore. The result: What had for so long been Downtown was becoming Olde Towne.

The years since then have brought more subdivisions, shopping centers and commuters, and more business development along the arteries leading to the interstate. With the rapid growth of the city - its complexion changed by urbanization - Olde Towne's heartbeat slowed. But there is now a concerted effort by several groups to revitalize and preserve this important part of Slidell's history. The Olde Towne Merchants' Association has been integral in re-establishing this area as historically significant and economically viable. The committed citizens of this association have sponsored many projects such as the St. Patrick's Day Parade, Newspapers in Education, Adopt-A-School, Olde Towne Maps, The Olde Towne Merchants Newsletter, and more. Its all-volunteer governing board's accomplishments are easy to see when you're in the Olde Towne area: the Olde Towne logo created by local artists; banners; the old style lampposts and benches on First Street; additional lighting; and designation as part of the 13-parish Louisiana Scenic Byways route. Other projects that the corporation has accomplished are not as visible but just as vital. Its executive director acts as a liaison between the corporation and the community and develops working relationships with other associations and organizations interested in Olde Towne development. It has established the Olde Towne Preservation District and created a low-interest loan pool for facade improvements to non-residential property. The corporation also implemented a tax reduction program to entice investment.

Colorful Dancers!

A group of colorful young dancers entertain in Heritage Park during the KidsFest Art Festival in June.

The corporation's Olde Towne Preservation District Advisory Com-mission reviews building plans and assists property owners interested in pursuing investment tax credits for historic rehabilitation's. It has applied for the city of Slidell to become a Nationally Certified Local Government, which would allow it to receive grants from State Historic Preservation Offices, participate in nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, and to participate in other statewide preservation programs and planning. It has formed the Economic Development Committee, which is dedicated to strengthening the economic environment of Olde Towne and maintaining an inventory of existing businesses and buildings. A five-year plan has been developed for more capital improvements as well as an ongoing Dedication Program for acceptance of donations of lampposts and benches throughout the Olde Towne area. Its Ways and Means Committee directs events such as the Olde Towne Cochon de Lait and a Celebrity Roast.

Pampas Grass

A shot of nature flourishing on the Northshore.

Projects currently under development are: a marketing campaign; a brochure promoting tourism; a walking tour brochure and home tour development; a retail leasing plan and recruitment; interstate highway exit signs; and in-city marker signs designating the boundaries of Olde Towne. There are also hopes for an upscale retail development, a farmer's market, a performing arts center, a waterfront park, a railroad museum, bayou tours, commuter parking and rail service.

Stone Bridge

A shot of the old stone bridge.

Olde Towne is striving to experience activity reminiscent of the late 1800s. Already, its "Antique Row," beautiful old homes, and historic flavor are attracting shoppers and tourists from the surrounding communities. With continuing effort by the Olde Towne Merchants Association, the Olde Towne Development Corporation, other area organizations and Slidell residents, Olde Towne will enter the 21st century with a firm anchor in the past and an eye to the future.

Stone Angel

An example of the beautiful classic statuary found in the south.

Marie Ricca Lasecki, Olde Towne Development Corp., Special Projects, contributed to this story. It was compiled and written by Chamber of Commerce staff.

Beautiful Music

A recent concert performed by the Louisiana Philharmonic in Heritage Park. Keep your eye out for this yearly event.

Twentieth Century,

Around 1910, Slidell began a period of economic and industrial growth. A large creosote plant was built, and Slidell became home to St Joe's, a major producer of bricks. A lumber mill and shipyard were also built. Following the construction of Interstate 10, Interstate 59 and Interstate 12, Slidell became a major crossroads for those traversing the Gulf States.

The city of Slidell celebrated its centennial in 1988

In 1915 the creosote plant burned to the ground killing 55 workers and 3 firefighters. The plant was rebuilt on Bayou Lane, closer to a water source and closer to a fire station. Eventually, creosote polluted the bayou which was a source of drinking water for many of Slidell's residents. The creosote plant was abandoned in 1986 and then became an EPA Superfund site. The canal was dredged and waste incinerated until completion of the cleanup in 1996. At that time a boat launch was built and Heritage Park was constructed on the former site.

Come Sail Away!

A shot of one of the many beautiful marinas in Slidell. Bordering Lake Pontchartrain, Slidell is perfect for the boating or sailing enthusiast.

Superfund is the common name for the United States environmental policy officially known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. § 9601–9675), enacted by the United States Congress on December 11, 1980 in response to the Love Canal disaster. The Superfund law was created to protect people, families, communities and others from heavily contaminated toxic waste sites that have been abandoned.

Workers in hazmat suits check the status of a cleanup site

After its initial passage, the Reagan administration appointed Rita Lavelle, a former hazardous waste-producing company employee, as Superfund's administrator. Due to delays introduced by her industry-favorable policies[citation needed], and a dramatic shortage of necessary funds, very little was accomplished in hazardous waste regulation until her resignation, the resignation of EPA administrator Anne Burford, and the passage of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act in 1986. These amendments increased the funding of Superfund to $9 billion and provided for studies and the use of new technologies.

Fun on the Playground

The playground at Heritage Park is a great spot for children!

Superfund provides broad federal authority to clean up releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. There are currently 1,240 sites listed on the Superfund National Priority List, an additional 317 have been delisted, and 61 new sites have been proposed.

Bayou Setting

A quiet afternoon on the bayou bordering Heritage Park.

Approximately 70% of Superfund cleanup activities historically have been paid for by parties responsible (PRPs) for the cleanup of contamination. The only time cleanup costs are not borne by the responsible party is when that party either can not be found or is unable to pay for the cleanup. For those sites, the Superfund law originally paid for toxic waste cleanups through a tax on petroleum and chemical industries. The chemical and petroleum fees were intended to provide incentives to use less toxic substances. Over five years, $1.6 billion was collected, and the tax went to a trust fund for cleaning up abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. The last full fiscal year in which the Department of the Treasury collected the tax was FY1995. At the end of FY1996, the invested trust fund balance was $6.0 billion. This fund was exhausted by the end of FY2003; since that time funding for these orphan shares has been appropriated by Congress out of general revenues.

Michoud Assembly Facility in 1968

With the advent of the U.S. space program in the 1960s, NASA opened the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans,

The Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) is an 832-acre (3.4-km²) site owned by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and located in Eastern New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. It is used for the construction of the Space Shuttle's External Tanks by its lead contractor Lockheed Martin. It is one of the largest manufacturing plants in the world with 43 acres (174,000 m²) under one roof and it employs approximately 2000 people.


The facility was originally constructed in 1940 at the village of Michoud, Louisiana by the United States government for the war production during World War II to make plywood cargo planes and landing craft. During the Korean War it made engines for Sherman and Patton tanks.

Stages of a Saturn V rocket being assembled at Michoud.

It came under the management of NASA in 1961 and was used for the construction of the S-IC first stage of the Saturn V rocket and the S-IB first stage of the Saturn IB rocket. It is home to the first stage of the last constructed Saturn V, SA-515. The Michoud Assembly Facility is most closely associated with the construction and production of NASA's External Tank (ET) program.

Hurricane Katrina,

The facility was damaged by Hurricane Katrina, with all shifts initially cancelled up to September 26, 2005, potentially setting back further Shuttle flights. All the buildings and the shuttle hardware within survived the hurricane without grave damage, but the roof of the main building was breached and debris damaged one of the fuel tanks stored inside. On September 16, 2005 NASA announced that the repairs were progressing faster than anticipated, and so they would continue to use Michoud for external tank work. On October 3, 2005, the facility officially reopened for essential personnel, though some key personnel had returned earlier. On October 31, 2005, the facility reopened to all personnel. Approximately 30 Lockheed Martin employees stayed behind during Hurricane Katrina to man the pumping systems and more than likely were the reason that the Michoud Facility suffered very little damage. These employees were awarded one of NASA's highest bravery awards.

Other and future activities,

The Michoud Assembly Facility also houses other organizations such as the National Finance Center operated by the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Coast Guard, and the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a partnership between the state of Louisiana, the University of New Orleans, and NASA.

Fanciful Sculpture

A recent showing of kinetic sculpture at the Slidell Cultural Arts Center.

NASA plans to use the Michoud Assembly Facility to build the structure of the Orion spacecraft, the Ares I Upper Stage, and the Ares V Core Stage.

Rocket engine test stand at Stennis Space Center

The John C. Stennis Space Center in nearby Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and a NASA computer center on Gause Boulevard. This nearly tripled Slidell's population over a period of ten years, and the city became a major suburb of New Orleans.

Slidell is also the location of the National Weather Service forecast office for greater New Orleans.

Hurricane Katrina

The city hosts several parade krewes each Carnival season. Slidell suffered extensive damage from the effects of Hurricane Katrina which hit the region on August 29, 2005. The city is said to have experienced a 23' - 26' storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain.

Graceful Solitude

A commonly seen friend in Slidell, the snow-white egret.

Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the costliest hurricane, as well as one of the five deadliest, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall. Hurricane Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, and crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding there before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm weakened before making its second landfall as a Category 3 storm on the morning of Monday, August 29 in southeast Louisiana. It caused severe destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas, much of it due to the storm surge. The most severe loss of life and property damage occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases hours after the storm had moved inland. The federal flood protection system in New Orleans failed at more than fifty places. Nearly every levee in metro New Orleans was breached as Hurricane Katrina passed just east of the city limits. Eventually 80% of the city became flooded and also large tracts of neighboring parishes, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks. At least 1,836 people lost their lives in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane. The storm is estimated to have been responsible for $81.2 billion (2005 U.S. dollars) in damage, making it the costliest tropical cyclone in U.S. history.

Antiques Row

A photograph looking down Slidell's famous 'Antiques Row' shopping district.

The levee failures prompted investigations of their design and construction which belongs solely to the US Army Corps of Engineers as mandated in the Flood Control Act of 1965. There was also an investigation of the responses from federal, state and local governments, resulting in the resignation of Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown. Conversely, the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service were widely commended for accurate forecasts and abundant lead time. Three years later, thousands of displaced residents in Mississippi and Louisiana were still living in trailers.


Amtrak's daily Crescent connects Slidell with New York City; Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD; Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL and New Orleans, LA. The Amtrak station is situated on Front Street.

Slidell is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of I-10, I-12 and I-59and U.S. Highway 11. The I-10 Twin Span Bridge runs from Slidell over Lake Pontchartrain to New Orleans East.

The I-10 Twin Spans should not be confused with the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which crosses Lake Pontchartrain between Metairie, Louisiana and Mandeville, Louisiana.

The I-10 Twin Span Bridge, known locally as the Twin Spans, consists of two parallel trestle bridges. These parallel bridges cross the eastern end of Lake Pontchartrain in southern Louisiana from New Orleans, Louisiana to Slidell, Louisiana. The bridges were opened at a short ceremony on December 21, 1965 and are each constructed with 433 65-foot concrete segments.

Twin Span Bridge Replacement Project

The Interstate 10 Twin Span Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain sustained serious damage from Hurricane Katrina. Construction of a new $800 million replacement bridge is underway.

The new bridge will consist of two parallel structures, each wide enough for three travel lanes, with 12-foot shoulders on each side. The westbound bridge is scheduled for completion in late 2009. The eastbound bridge is slated to open two years later.

Rather than using the airport codes of ASD and KASD for the existing Slidell Airport, or NEW and KNEW for the original New Orleans Lakefront Airport, or even MSY and KMSY for the Louis Armstrong International Airport, NWSFO Slidell uses IATA airport code "LIX" and ICAO airport code "KLIX" despite not corresponding to any actual airport.

Famous Slidellians,

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown: world-famous multi-instrumentalist and Grammy Award winner (1924-2005),

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (April 18, 1924 — September 10, 2005[1]) was a Louisiana and Texan American blues musician.

He was an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, who played an array of musical instruments such as guitar, fiddle, mandolin, viola as well as harmonica and drums. He won a Grammy Award for Traditional Blues in 1983 for his album, Alright Again!

Tony Canzoneri: world boxing champion,

Tony Canzoneri (November 6, 1908—December 9, 1959) was an American boxer who was born in the town of Slidell, Louisiana.

Canzoneri, an Italian American, was one of the members of the exclusive group of boxing world champions who have won titles in three or more divisions.

Chris Duhon: former Duke University point guard and current New York Knicks reserve point guard; helped Duke to the 2001 NCAA men's basketball championship.

Chris Nicholas Duhon (born August 31, 1982, in Mamou, Louisiana) is an American professional basketball player for the New York Knicks of the NBA. Duhon was a point guard for the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team from 2000 to 2004 and the Chicago Bulls from 2004 to 2008.

The Residents: secretive avant-garde music group (who originally claimed to be from Shreveport). The Residents in their iconic "eyeball" masks

The Residents is an American avant-garde music and visual arts group who have created over sixty albums, created numerous musical short films, designed three CD-ROM projects and ten DVDs, and undertaken seven major world tours. Throughout their career, spanning nearly four decades, they have successfully maintained complete anonymity.

Mike Fontenot: 2nd baseman for Chicago Cubs. Played college baseball at Louisiana State University.

Michael Eugene "Mike" Fontenot (born June 9, 1980 in Slidell, Louisiana) is a Major League Baseball infielder for the Chicago Cubs.

High school career,

Mike Fontenot was a standout for Salmen High School in Slidell, Louisiana. After his Senior year, he was drafted in the 21st round (625th overall) of the 1999 MLB Amateur Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but chose to attend Louisiana State University on a baseball scholarship instead of going professional.

College career,

Mike Fontenot attended Louisiana State University. Fontenot received National Freshman of the Year recognition as LSU's starting second baseman, batting .353 (103-for-292) with 13 doubles, three triples, 17 home runs, 64 RBI, 93 runs, and eight steals. He became the third LSU player to win National Freshman of the Year award, following second baseman Todd Walker (1992) and pitcher Brett Laxton (1993). Fontenot's 17 home runs set an LSU freshman record, surpassing the previous mark of 15 established by Blair Barbier in 1997.

In 2000, he was named to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional all-tournament team, hitting .400 (6-for-15) with two doubles, one home run, five RBI, and five runs scored. He was named to the College World Series all-tournament team as he hit a team-best .462 (6-for-13) with two doubles, one home run, two RBI, and six runs scored. He, along with Chicago Cubs teammate Ryan Theriot, was a member of the LSU Tigers baseball team that won the 2000 College World Series. The second baseman was LSU's leading hitter in the NCAA Baseball Tournament, batting .432 (16-for-37) in nine games with four doubles, two home runs and nine RBI.

Professional career,

Fontenot was again chosen in the 1st round (19th overall) of the 2001 MLB Amateur Entry Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Fontenot signed with the Orioles, garnering a $1,300,000.00 signing bonus as part of the deal. As part of the Orioles' farm system, Fontenot played for the Frederick Keys of the High-A Carolina League (2002), the Bowie Baysox of the AA Eastern League (2003), and the Ottawa Lynx of the AAA International League (2004).

On February 3, 2005, Fontenot was traded to the Chicago Cubs along with 2B/OF Jerry Hairston, Jr. and RHP Dave Crouthers for slugger Sammy Sosa. Fontenot is the only remaining player from that trade that is still with the Cubs. As part of the Cubs' farm system, Fontenot played for the Iowa Cubs of the AAA Pacific Coast League (2005-2007).

Fontenot made his Major League debut with the Cubs on April 13, 2005. In seven games with the team, he went 0-for-2 with 2 walks and 4 runs scored. Fontenot did not return to the Cubs until May 15, 2007, when he was promoted from AAA to replace relief pitcher Rocky Cherry. After a fast start, including finishing second in the National League Rookie of the Month voting for June 2007, he is now the Cubs' backup second baseman. He wears Mark Grace's old number, 17. Cubs fans refer to him as "Fonte-yes", when he has a good play or at-bat. Len Kasper and Bob Brenly refer to Fontenot and his former LSU teammate Ryan Theriot as "the bayou boys" or "bayou bashers". Fans have also referred to him as "Swamp Thing" due to his Louisianan background. Ron Santo, color commentator on WGN-AM, calls him "Little Babe Ruth", on local radio he is referred to as "The Pocket Rocket".

John Besh: Chef and owner of LaProvence Restaurant, Restaurant August and Luke. Recently was a finalist on the Food Network show Iron Chef America.

John Besh is the owner and executive chef at Restaurant August in New Orleans, Louisiana (twice on Gourmet Magazine’s list of Best Restaurants), and owns three other restaurants: La Provence, Lüke, and Besh Steak (located in Harrah's New Orleans Casino). He is working on his first solo-authored cookbook, Ma Louisianne.


Besh was born in Meridian, Mississippi, and raised in southern Louisiana. He loved to hunt and also fish. John graduated from Pope John Paul II high school, in Slidell, Louisiana. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 1992. In the early 1990s, he was a non-commissioned officer (NCO) in Operation Desert Storm in the Mideast, serving on active duty with the Marine Corps Reserves for 10 months, and led a squad in the company that liberated Kuwait International Airport. He studied in Germany with Karl Josef Fuchs at the Michelin-starred Romantik Hotel Spielweg. Besh has also studied in the south of France with Alain Assaud.


Besh was named one of the Ten Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 1999. In 2006, he won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef in the Southeast. He worked closely with local food producers, such as Chicory Farm, which led to his relationship with the future proprietors of Nova Scotia's Trout Point Lodge. He opened Restaurant August in 2001 in Central Business District, New Orleans. Since then he has opened two more restaurants: Lüke and Besh Steak. When his mentor, Chris Kerageorgiou, died in 2006, Besh took over La Provence, the restaurant Kerageorgiou had founded.

John Besh, one of the top chefs in New Orleans, before and after Hurricane Katrina, has four restaurants: Restaurant August, Besh Steak at Harrah’s Casino, La Provence and Lüke, a brasserie. In 2006, Mr. Besh won the James Beard Award as the best chef in the Southeast. Also that year, on the television program “Iron Chef America,” he bested the renowned Mario Batali in head-to-head culinary combat in “Battle Andouille” sausage. Mr. Besh was a finalist in the competition on the Food Network to become "The Next Iron Chef," finishing second to Michael Symon.

The 2007 Zagat Guide named Restaurant August as No. 1 in New Orleans for both food and service.

Mr. Besh’s cooking style has been described as “freewheeling international,” with an emphasis on local ingredients. Restaurant August, his flagship, was one of the first restaurants to reopen after the hurricane, and he has been strongly involved in efforts to help the victims of Katrina. He has championed a renewed appreciation (often with modern variations) of local Cajun and Creole cooking, saying he considers them essential to the survival of the city’s cultural heritage. “We’re taking old recipes and bringing them back to life,” he was quoted as saying.

J Juvenile: famous southern rapper, whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Rich Clementi: Mixed martial arts fighter and UFC veteran who trains and resides in Slidell.

Richard Thomas "No Love" Clementi (born March 31, 1976) is an American mixed martial arts fighter. He currently fights as a lightweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Mixed martial arts career,

Clementi was featured as a welterweight on The Ultimate Fighter 4, losing his preliminary bout against Shonie Carter by unanimous decision. Clementi had only made one previous appearance in the UFC, losing by submission to Yves Edwards at UFC 41.

Although Clementi did not secure a slot in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter 4, he appeared on the undercard of the season finale as a lightweight, losing by rear naked choke submission to Din Thomas.

Clementi secured his first victory in the UFC via rear naked choke submission against Ross Pointon at UFC Fight Night 8, although the fight was not aired during the broadcast.

More recently, Clementi defeated Anthony Johnson at UFC 76 via rear naked choke submission. Clementi took the fight on only a few weeks notice. With the win, Clementi improved his UFC record to 2-3. He won his next fight by a submission at UFC 79 against Melvin Guillard at 4:40 in the first round. The Guillard fight was controversial when Clementi made an obscene gesture by standing up and thrusting his pelvis after Guillard tapped.[1]. After the obscene gesture, Guillard was restrained as he attempted to fight Clementi again [2].

Rich Clementi racked up another victory in an under card event at UFC 83. He defeated Sam Stout by split decision. The official judges scored the bout 29-27, 29-28 for Clementi and 29-28 for Stout.

Clementi's next fight was a unanimous decision over Terry Etim on the Preliminary Card of UFC 84. Clementi has won four straight UFC Pay Per View fights, and six consecutive.

On Saturday October 25th at UFC 90, Clementi was defeated by Gray Maynard by unanimous decision.

Personal life,

Rich spent eight years in the military with the Navy Seabees and was mobilized as a reservist after 9/11. He also runs "Rich Clementi's Gladiator Gym" in his hometown of Slidell, Louisiana.

Terius Gray (born March 25, 1975), also known by his stage name Juvenile, is an American rapper. At the age of 19, he began recording raps, releasing his debut album Being Myself in 1994. The album gave name to the southern rap style known as "bounce". The album was followed by Solja Rags in 1997; its underground popularity led to the major-label release of 400 Degreez in 1998. After releasing Tha G-Code in 1999 and Project English in 2001, Juvenile left Cash Money Records.

In 2003, he returned to Cash Money to record Juve the Great, spawning the number-one hit "Slow Motion". In 2006, he was signed to Atlantic Records, releasing his latest album Reality Check under that label.

400 Degreez is the third hip hop album by New Orleans-based rapper Juvenile, released on June 9, 1998 (see 1998 in music). The album received rave reviews and introduced Juvenile to mainstream hip hop listeners.

Two singles, "Ha" and "Back That Azz Up" became hip hop hits in the United States, although "Back That Azz Up" was the only one that managed to cross over and become a pop hit as well. The album was a #2 hit on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums and peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200. "Follow Me Now" was also a single, but did not catch on as the other two did. As a single, "Back That Azz Up" was released, credited, and charted as the more censored "Back That Thang Up". Also the album features a bonus remix of the single "Ha" with New York rapper Jay-Z, the only guest appearance outside of Cash Money. The album was also released in an edited/clean version, which strongly removes most of the profanities used on the album. The censored version got very negative attention, because of why it did so. The explicit version of the album still contained minor editing in the song "Welcome 2 Tha Nolia". The words "pistol" and "cock" are censored out by backmasking.

Music career,

After beginning his rap performing career in his teenage years, Juvenile released his first album Being Myself in 1994, giving way to the southern "bounce" rap style, similar in nature to the sound that Master P and No Limit Records were performing at the time. In 1997, Solja Rags, Juvenile's debut with Cash Money Records, became popular among underground rap audiences.[1] Thus, Juvenile's next album 400 Degreez was re-released in 1998 with joint distribution by Universal Records, spawning his first single "Ha" and later "Back That Azz Up", both of which topped the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.[3] However, there came a dispute over who owned the rights to the title of the song, as another New Orleans performer DJ Jubilee claimed that Juvenile's song sounded very similar to a song of his. In January 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans denied the case.

In 1999, capitalizing off Juvenile's popularity off 400 Degreez, a remixed version of Being Myself and reissue of Solja Rags were released. Two more albums under Cash Money were released, Tha G-Code in 1999 and Project English in 2001. Juvenile left Cash Money Records in 2002 to join a new label UTP Records. In the summer of that year, he was arrested for assaulting his barber over charges that the barber was bootlegging his music.

He was arrested January 2003 in New Orleans on drug charges. The next month, he was sentenced to 75 hours of community service for a fight outside a nightclub in Miami, Florida from 2001. Juvenile returned to Cash Money in 2003 to release Juve the Great. It contained the number-one hit "Slow Motion" featuring Soulja Slim, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart on the week of August 7, 2004[8], being the first number-one hit for both Juvenile and Slim, who died in November 2003.

In 2005, Juvenile and his UTP crew went on to create the hit song "Nolia Clap" produced by Donald "XL" Robertson, and Juvenile was able to use this as leverage in getting a new deal for himself and UTP at Atlantic Records. In June of that year, he performed his song "Booty Language" from the soundtrack to the film Hustle and Flow at a party in West Hollywood, California. However, Juvenile's Slidell, Louisiana home was damaged but not destroyed in Hurricane Katrina near the end of the summer. In the aftermath of the hurricane, he worked with fellow New Orleans rapper Master P and other hip hop artists to raise funds and supplies for the victims of the hurricane. Thus, he moved to Atlanta to live until the spring of 2006, when he moved back to New Orleans.

Reality Check, Juvenile's 2006 album, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, being his first number-one album. Production began in May 2005, most of it being done at a Holiday Inn hotel room in New Orleans. Its first single was "Animal", followed by "Rodeo", "Get Ya Hustle On" produced by Donald "XL" Robertson, "What's Happenin'", and "Way I Be Leanin'" featuring Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Skip, and Wacko. On signing to Atlantic, Juvenile criticized his former label Cash Money for not giving him enough creative freedoms as well as FEMA over his perceptions over their handling of Hurricane Katrina. Shaheem Reid noted "Get Ya Hustle On" as a criticism of the George W. Bush administration.

Juvenile had been set to return from a hiatus in 2008, but following the death of his daughter in February 2008, has taken further time off. Also, produced a track on Ludacris's upcoming album.

Matt Forte: Running back for Chicago Bears. Played at Tulane University and Slidell High School.

Matthew Garrett Forté (born December 10, 1985 in Lake Charles, Louisiana) is an American football running back for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Bears in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at Tulane.

Early years,

Forté attended Slidell High School in Slidell, Louisiana and was an honor student and a letterman in football and track. In football, he was a two-time All-District and All-Parish selection, and as a senior, he was also named the team's Most Valuable Player, won All-Metro honors, was named the District 5-5A Offensive M.V.P., was named the Saint Tammany Parish Player of the Year, and garnered second team All-State honors. Matthew Garrett Forté graduated from Slidell High School in 2004.

College career,

Forté played NCAA Division I college football at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, a member of Conference USA. Forté lettered for four years and played for 3while pursuing a degree in finance. His junior year was cut short when he suffered an injury in the game against Marshall University. His standout season was his senior year, coming off a knee injury, he rushed for 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns. He had five 200+ yard rushing games and two 300+ yard games during the 2007 season. Forté was the only non-BCS athlete to be a semifinalist for both the Maxwell and Doak Walker Awards and to make the Walter Camp Player of the Year List, and one of just 3 players nationally to be named to all three lists.

Professional Career - Chicago Bears,

The Chicago Bears drafted Forté in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft as the forty-fourth overall selection. He was originally drafted to compete with Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson for the team's starting running back position. However, Benson was released from the Bears after struggling with legal issues, leaving Forté to compete with Peterson and second-year running back Garrett Wolfe. Forté made his regular season debut on September 7, 2008, against the Indianapolis Colts. He carried the ball 23 times for 123 yards (setting a franchise record for most yards gained in a running back debut) and one touchdown en route to a 29-13 victory over the Colts. His efforts earned him Sunday Night Football’s “Horse Trailer Player of the Game” award. As of week 14, he has amassed 1,081 yards rushing and 395 yards receiving with 10 total touchdowns (6 rushing, 4 Receiving).

Forté became the first Chicago Bears running back to rush for over 1,000 yards in their rookie season since Anthony Thomas rushed for 1,183 yards in 2001. He is third in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (Rushing and Receiving) with 1,370 yards and quietly accounts for over 35% of the Bears offensive yards from scrimmage, leading all NFL running backs. Forté needs only four yards from scrimmage to break Hall of Famer Gale Sayer's team record of 1,374 in 1965. If Forté continues to average 85 yards rushing per game, he will finish with 1,352 yards, topping Minnesota Adrian L. Peterson's 1,341 yard rookie campaign last year in 2007.

P.J. Brown: NBA basketball player.

Collier Brown, Jr. (born October 14, 1969 in Detroit, Michigan), commonly referred to as P.J. Brown, is an American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and currently a free agent. The 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m), 239 lb (108 kg/17.1 st) center/power forward was selected out of Louisiana Tech University by the New Jersey Nets with the 29th overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, but began his NBA career only in the 1993-94 season. He has been voted into the NBA All-Defensive Second Team three times, in 1997, 1999 and 2001,[1] and won the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2004. He attended Winnfield Senior High School in Winnfield, Louisiana, where he played for the Winnfield Tigers, and has played professionally for the New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat, Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics.


Brown played four years at Louisiana Tech and averaged 10.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in 121 contests. He left Louisiana Tech as the Bulldogs' 2nd all-time leader in blocks with 241, and 5th in rebounds with 1,017.

First years,

Brown was selected out of Louisiana Tech University with the 29th overall pick in the second round of the 1992 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets. However, he elected to play in the Greek League his first year out of college and averaged 17.0 points, 13.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game for Panionios.

In his first three seasons in the NBA, from 1993 to 1996, he played in 240 regular season games for the New Jersey Nets, of which he started 198 games, averaging 8.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.37 blocks in 30.7 minutes per game. He appeared in 4 playoff games for the Nets in the 1994 NBA Playoffs. He also participated in the 1994Rookie Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend.

Slidell in the media:

Bayou Liberty is featured in a boat chase scene in the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die when James Bond is chased in a motor boat by Dr. Kananga's henchmen in motor launches.

Chacko George, who was a student at Northshore High School at the time, won the 2000 Jeopardy! Teen Tournament championship.

Slidell is named in the Lucinda Williams song "Joy," from the 1998 Album, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.

It is also the title of a song in the 2005 Grayson Capps album If you knew my mind.

Andrew Volpe Live/Ludo

Slidell is mentioned in the song Lake Pontchartrain by Ludo

Jayne Mansfield

Slidell attracted attention in the month of June, 1967, when Jayne Mansfield was killed in a car accident in the city at the age of 34.

Slidell is the home of Matthew Poncelet, the main character in the film Dead Man Walking. He mentions that it is hard for his family to visit him in prison at the Louisiana State Penitentiary because "it's a long drive from Slidell."