Photo provided by Lakeview Shepherd Center—Pat Milazo turned 102 on Oct. 1 and celebrated with friends at the Lakeview Shepherd Center. Milazo loves yoga and art, and swims almost daily. The Lakeview Shepherd Center is at 316 38th St. in New Orleans, and its phone number is (504) 484-0885.

Place a child across the table from an adult, engage them in an arm-wrestling match, and my money is on the adult. Engage them in a chess match, and all bets are off.

“I lose to kids all the time,” said local writer Michael Tisserand, who moonlights as a chess teacher at Lusher Charter School. With help from the Broadmoor community and the website, Tisserand has organized the city’s first Chess Fest, to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center, 4300 S. Broad St.

Chess sharpens the organic computer: the brain, Tisserand said, and it can be mastered by young and old, male and female. The first requirement is “you have to be willing to lose,” he said.

Loss leads to learning the ropes of the game, he said, and Chess Fest is the perfect place to play. Participants can engage in tournament play or grab a quiet table for two. Everyone is welcome to observe and enjoy games, food and music. A chess art table will occupy young children while older siblings and parents engage in competition and lessons.

Top chess players, including Mike Klein, James Rousselle and Robby Rasmussen, will take part in the chess festival, and Tisserand hopes it will become an annual event.

A highlight will be a re-creation of a match played by New Orleans chess champion Paul Morphy. Children will act as the 32 chess pieces, divided into teams of 16 dressed in white and black.

“My not-too-secret agenda is to get chess into more schools,” said Tisserand, who helps coach about 70 Lusher students, including his daughter Cecilia, 16, and son Miles, 13.

Cecilia was a first-grade student when Tisserand grew interested in chess and engaged her in the game.

“I can guarantee you that girls and women can play chess,” he said.

For a list of area schools that offer chess clubs and teams, and for information about Chess Fest, visit

Fall is tree-planting season

Hike for KaTREEna, a nonprofit organization replanting more than 100,000 trees lost to Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes, with a grant from Apache Corp., will hold a tree giveaway and fundraiser from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, at NOLA Brewing, 3001 Tchoupitoulas St.

Purchase a cold beverage and receive a cypress, live oak, swamp red, maple or crape myrtle tree. Fruit trees, including satsuma, navel orange, lemon, lime, ruby red grapefruit, kumquat, blood orange and Celeste fig, from Becnel Farms in Plaquemines Parish, will be offered for $30 each.

Tree giveaways and fruit tree sales also will be held in November and December.

Tree selection is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 15, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and School, 6249 Canal Blvd.; and Saturday, Dec. 6, at the New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways, behind Dillard University, 2601 Gentilly Blvd.

For information, contact Connie Uddo, executive director of Hike for KaTREEna, at (504) 415-8434 or at

Street gallery art boxes

Have you noticed utility boxes on city neutral grounds are being transformed into works of art? For several years, Community Visions Unlimited has sponsored the New Orleans Street Gallery. I was offered the chance to put my University of New Orleans fine arts degree to use by painting the box at Canal Boulevard and Navarre Avenue.

To celebrate the completion of more than 30 utility boxes and to help raise money to paint more, CVU is throwing a party and selling miniatures of some of the art-box projects from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Blue Plate Artist Lofts, 1515 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway.

Come out and see the mini art boxes, enjoy food and drink, and meet some of the artists. For information, visit

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at