LSU veterinarian David Baker gave personal insights about the university’s mascot, Mike the Tiger, to the LSU Faculty and Staff Retirees Club at its Feb. 11 meeting.

As the attending physician for Mike VII, Baker spoke of the major change in the school’s live mascot policy after Mike VI died. Wild animal mascots are a national controversy, with activists on both sides of the issue pressuring LSU.

University leaders decided to keep a live mascot, Baker said, but with the stipulation his home would be a sanctuary. That meant no stadium appearances and following strict rules to maintain sanctuary status.

After Mike VI died, it took 10 months to find a replacement. Tigers often are exploited for their dollar value and not always treated well, Baker said. For example, almost every part of the animal, including its blood and bile, has been marketed as miracle cures.

Asked about the recent taunting of Mike VII following a TV news story, Baker said it made him sick. “If Mike should lunge at a spectator and break his teeth hitting the glass, it would mean his premature death from the inability to eat normally,” he said.

Jintana Cochran, Marilyn Cramer, Donna Day, Mary Feduccia, Tammy Heil and Claire Moreau provided refreshments. The club holds meetings, tours and social events through the academic year and is open to all retirees and their spouses. Contact

Beta Tau learns about organizing

Designer and personal organizer Sarah Cooper spoke about why people create clutter and ways to better organize possessions when Beta Tau Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma met Feb. 11 at Portobello's Grill.

Cooper introduced strategies to begin de-cluttering to downsize, remodel or repurpose spaces in homes and offices.

Civic group hears five speakers

At the Federation of Greater Baton Rouge Civic Associations' meeting on Feb. 14 at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, representatives of various homeowners associations addressed a number of issues.

Sarah Jeansonne, of Centurion Place Homeowners Association, talked about problems with real estate development, such as infractions regarding setbacks and fill dirt. Bill Gibson, representing the Audubon Terrace/Morning Glen homeowners association, discussed the implications of traffic and drainage associated with a new development. Margrett Fels discussed how to access and apply the city's unified development code when addressing the parish Planning Commission or Metro Council. Bob Harper, of Riverbend homeowners association, spoke on how to form a crime prevention and improvement district and how one functions. Ed Lagucki introduced the federation's new membership survey, a tool for members to communicate the issues of importance to their homeowners associations.

Kelvin Hill, new assistant chief administrative officer to the mayor, who is charged with oversight of six public works departments, will speak March 14. For information, call President Nancy Curry at (225) 315-1206, or go to

DAR insignia topic for Audubon Chapter meeting

Bridget May suggested reasons why Daughters of the American Revolution’s founders chose the spinning wheel for its insignia and seal in the early 1890s when the John James Audubon chapter met Feb. 18 at the East Baton Rouge Parish Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library.

Popular in late 19th-century America, the spinning wheel was an important symbol of the country’s colonial past, she said. It stood for the dignity and significance of women’s work and the sterling qualities or virtues of Colonial women. Making and wearing homespun instead of imported British textiles demonstrated patriotism, solidarity with leaders and a rejection of Britain’s colonial policies, May said. The spinning wheel also represented women’s many tasks that maintained the independence of their homes while men fought for independence.

Several chapter members attended the commemoration of George Washington’s birthday held Feb. 17 near the Old Arsenal in the State Capitol complex. Also attending were members of the Ann Fairfax Society of the Children of the American Revolution.

Meeting hostesses were Regent Georgia LaCour, Glenda Carlile and Kathy Brumfield.

DAR membership is open to women who can prove lineal, bloodline decent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence. She must provide documentation for each statement of birth, marriage and death. For information, email

Bonsai Society learns repotting techniques

Lowell Tilley led the discussion on bonsai techniques with the emphasis on repotting when the Louisiana Bonsai Society met Feb. 19.

Tilley showed a bonsai that had just been repotted to demonstrate the correct level of soil in the pot to develop surface roots. He explained how to improve your bonsai techniques as the bonsai ages to keep it alive and growing well.

David DeGroot, of Seattle, led the Mid-winter Bonsai Workshop held Jan. 18-20. He conducted four bonsai workshops. Baljit Randhawa had an American hornbeam bonsai that was improved in one of the workshops, but they didn’t have time to carve some deadwood to make it look older. Howard Merrill brought his tools so they could carve out the deadwood at the February meeting.

The society will have a booth at the annual LSU Horticulture Plant Sale and Garden Show on Saturday and Sunday at the Parker Coliseum to inform people about bonsai. The Spring Bonsai Show will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 16-17. Members will display bonsai and will have starter bonsai for sale to support the club. Admission is free.

The society is a not-for-profit organization open to all who are interested in the hobby of bonsai. It meets at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at the Baton Rouge Garden Center, 7950 Independence Blvd. Visitors are welcome. For information, call Tilley at (225) 272-6744 or email

Kiwanis has Presidents' Council meeting

District Lt. Govs. Morgan M. Watson and Laura Gilliland hosted the Kiwanis Presidents' Council meeting for divisions 8W and 8E on Feb. 23 at Neighbors Federal Credit Union.

Gov.-elect Bruce Hammatt spoke about plans for the Kiwanis House, which focuses on housing for parents of hospitalized children. Membership Chairman Gary Graham spoke about growing clubs and chartering new clubs. District Director Charlie Ford talked about the Kiwanis Foundation. Oaks Club President Bob Blanchard presented Butch Passman's Speakers' Directory. Red Stick Kiwanis President Gary LaBauve set up for the meeting.

For information on joining Kiwanis, call (225) 335-4419.

Mellion-Patin receives award from Tuskegee

Dawn Mellion-Patin, vice chancellor for extension and outreach at the Southern University Agricultural Center, has been selected as the 2019 T.M. Campbell Leadership Award recipient by Tuskegee University’s Farmers Conference awards committee.

Mellion-Patin received the award Feb. 21 during Tuskegee University’s 127th Annual Farmers Conference in Montgomery, Alabama.

The award is given annually in honor of Thomas Monroe Campbell, the first person appointed as an extension agent in the United States. Recipients must exhibit professional and volunteer work, interact with 1890 universities as well as other universities to impact extension/outreach, demonstrate involvement in public service activities to advance the quality of life for rural citizens and receive recognition from peer groups for services rendered.

Mellion-Patin has served in her position since 2016. She developed the center’s Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Training Institute, an intensive leadership development program that guides small, minority, socially disadvantaged and limited-resource farmers through the process of becoming competitive agricultural entrepreneurs.

Friends of the Animals gets van

Friends of the Animals Baton Rouge has bought a transport van to bring area shelter dogs to The Dog Adoption House daily to be viewed by potential adopters. The van also will be used to transport dogs to veterinary appointments, and off-site adoption and educational events.

The van purchase was funded from grants from The Lamar Family Foundation, The PEDIGREE Foundation and The Pennington Family Foundation. Grants also provided partial funding of a transport driver position to operate the van and handle the adoptable dogs. Local sign and print shop Rebel Graphix wrapped the van with pictures of dogs adopted from FOTA.

The group launched a contest to name the van. The winner will be announced on its social media accounts.

Delirium topic for district nurses

The Baton Rouge District Nurses Association met Feb. 21 at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, with 30 members and guests in attendance.

Speaker Charla Johnson gave a continuing education presentation on delirium, particularly in post operative patients.

Compiled by Advocate staff writer George Morris. The “Community” column runs every Tuesday and Friday in The Advocate. Items should be submitted to “Community,” Advocate eatplaylive section, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821, or emailed to Events should be submitted in a timely fashion. By submitting photos to The Advocate, you agree that they can be published in any of The Advocate’s print or digital publications. Follow George Morris on Twitter, @GWMorris.