Art and wine lovers stroll Ponchatoula

University counselor Annette Baldwin and Counseling Administrative Assistant Brenda Sciortino were among the faculty and alumni that promoted their businesses, art and future events.

University counselor Annette Baldwin and Counseling Administrative Assistant Brenda Sciortino were among the faculty and alumni that promoted their businesses, art and future events. 
The Lion's Roar/Larshell Green 

Art lovers and residents of nearby cities were in for a sweet treat last weekend with wine and a variety of artistic endeavors.

The Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce sponsored the second annual Ponchatoula Art & Wine Stroll on Sept. 17 from 5-8 p.m.

Armbands for adults ages 21 and over were available for $20 to participate in the stroll and receive souvenir wine glass. Local businesses were open late to serve samples of wine. Children’s art was on display by students from D.C. Reeves Elementary School, St. Joseph Elementary School and Ponchatoula High School. Local artists had pieces available for purchase and musicians performed at several local restaurants.

Holly Williams of Ponchatoula cites music as the inspiration for her work which includes repurposed metals. 

“I’m a huge Tom Waits fan,” said Williams. “I feel like my work is a visual representation of his music, gritty, industrial and raw.”

The Art and Wine Stroll happened from 4th Street to 6th Street and included participation from 28 businesses. Twenty-five of the locations were used for wine tastings and local artists were at 24 locations.

Kayla Tomeny, owner of Roux & Brew participated in the Art and Wine Stroll for the second time. Tomeny wanted Roux & Brew to remain a part of the Ponchatoula downtown community events.

“I think it’s a great event to promote the downtown area and for some of the businesses that aren’t normally opened after five to have some extra exposure,” said Tomeny. “To me, it creates a great environment downtown.”

According to Chamber of Commerce Board Secretary Jenel Secrease, this year a passport system was used to promote strollers to visit every participating location in order to receive a stamp. Patrons who went to every location turned their passport in at the end of the event to participate in a drawing for a gift basket.

New resident to Louisiana, Emily Fournier recently moved to Hammond and was excited to enjoy the local festivities.

“It’s good, we like stuff like this,” said Fournier. “It’s something fun to do on a Saturday.”

Separate from the chamber, Secrease is an attorney at Jenel G. Secrease, Attorney at Law, LLC and is the City Prosecutor in Ponchatoula. Several Chamber Board members, artists, business owners and musicians are alumni or current students or faculty at the university, including Secrease. 

Secrease graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2000. At the university, she was an orientation leader, worked in Enrollment Services, was a Cub Camp Advisor and served as President of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority. 

Awovi Adu, speech pathology graduate student volunteered with public charter school Tangi Academy as a parent volunteer. 

“I would love to be involved and I love to know what’s going on in my kids’ education,” said Adu. 

Sarah Hess, a sophomore communication major has been an intern for four months at the Chamber of Commerce. Although Hess focuses on social media at the chamber, she attended the stroll for the first time to help at the information table.

“Last year was really successful so we were hoping for a big turnout this year,” said Hess. “People are really excited about it, businesses get to sell their artwork, it’s great for the whole community and puts Ponchatoula’s name out there even more. It’s great networking, especially for communication majors. It’s fun, it’s art and wine. I feel like a lot of the Southeastern students would enjoy it.”

Local musician and alumni Chris Broussard performs every Tuesday night at Roux & Brew, but performed at the stroll for the first time.

“This is what I do for a living,” said Broussard. “It makes me feel good, so I imagine if it makes me feel good and alive, that’s what it does for everyone else. It keeps you young. I feel young when I perform.”

Former Biology professor Henry Ziller began his journey as an artist after his retirement from the university.

“I started off doing it for fun and relaxation and thought, ‘I’m retired, it’d be nice to have some extra income.”’

Since then, Ziller has decorated tables for Middendorf’s in Akers, Louisiana. His first creations were done with crayons, but his Cajun-themed work at the stroll was done with watercolors.

In light of south Louisiana’s recent flooding, a representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency came to assist those who remained affected. 

Keith Beisler, Crew Lead Disaster Survivor Assistant for FEMA used the stroll to offer information about case inquiries and updates.

“We wanted to make sure that we help everybody that needs help,” said Beisler. “We use this event for full force multipliers, so we can see a lot of people at one time.” 

Secrease has chaired the event both years. She believed the event would add a fun evening to the chamber’s schedule of events.

“It would bring people to town to participate in the wine tasting, to shop, to view their child’s art and to see what local artists had to offer,” said Secrease. “The foot traffic allows strollers the opportunity to see what Downtown Ponchatoula has to offer to promote future business.”


Art and Wine Walk.

Art and Wine Walk. 
The Lion's Roar/Larshell Green 




Art and Wine Walk.

Art and Wine Walk.
The Lion's Roar/Larshell Green 

Art and Wine Walk.

Art and Wine Walk. 
The Lion's Roar/Larshell Green