Who are you nominating for the Drum Newspaper’s Five Under 35 Leadership Award?

Jozef Syndicate


The Drum Newspaper’s most prestigious Five Under 35 recognition awards is now taking nominations for Baton Rouge’s and Ponchatoula’s five, up-and-coming industry leaders under the age of 35. This award celebrates the depth of talent within the Black community including rising stars of entertainment to successful non-profit leaders.

In order to qualify for consideration, individuals must have been born after December 31, 1978, and have lived and worked in Ponchatoula, Hammond, or Baton Rouge for at least two years. Official nomination forms should be returned to the The Drum Newspaper no later than August 31, 2013.

A special Reader’s Choice award will be presented to the nominee who receives most votes through Facebook, Twitter, or call-in during the month of September. Individuals selected as recipients of the Top Five Under 35 award as well as the Reader’s Choice award recipient will be profiled in a…

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Brooke Hogan : “Bride to Be” for the Second Time

A photo from Hogan's Instagram of the proposal
A photo from Hogan’s Instagram of the proposal

Cowboys offensive lineman , Phil Costa proposed to, former reality-star princess and daughter of wrestling legend Hulk Hongan, Brooke Hogan over the weekend.

For the longest time I wondered what happened to the blonde haired songstress and daughter of wressling legend Hulk Hogan after her reality show was canceled in 2009.

Her brother Nick let us all know by being the frist to announce it on twitter.

Brooke’s younger brother Nick Hogan was the first to announce the news with a photo of the happy couple on social media.

“MY SISTER IS GETTING MARRIED!!! CONGRATULATIONS BROOKE!!!” Nick said via Twitter on Friday night

The prospal took place in front of the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas ; which was all documented in photos for the world to see via future Mrs. Costa’s Instagram profile.

True wrestling fans know this will not be the first trip down the aisle for Hogan.

Brooke , who is currently a performer for TNA Impact Wrestling, was proposed to earlier this year by bad guy-turned-good ,wrestlery, Bully Ray.

Against her father’s wishes, Brook and Bully Ray were set to wed in a wrestling tv wedding episode that which aired in January on Spike TV.

Unfortunately something went wrong during the  wrestling tv wedding. The wedding party was attacked by the rogue villain biker gang known as the “Aces and Eights.” It would later be revealed that Bully Ray was behind the attack.

The princess of wrestling has finaly found love with the Cowboys offensive lineman. Costa has come a long way since being signed as an undrafted free agent by Cowboys in 2010 as a backup. Currently the offensive lineman is the starting center for the Cowboys. 

T.I. and Mystikal Headline at Cajun Dome

T.I.’s performance at the Cajun Dome will go down as one of the best concerts of the summer.  Although the concert was headlined by “The King of the South” ; he shared the stage with a rap legend Mystikal. The New Orleans native , who’s live shows never disappoint, delivered a performance that reminded the audience why he is so well respected in the industry. During his set Mystikal energetically performed a medley of his ranging from “Still Smokin”, “It Aint my Fault”, and “Move”, that kept the crowd on their feet the whole time. As we thought Mysikal’s “turn up” was coming to an end he brought a surprise guest. Once T.I. took the stage the crowd was ready to hear what the “King of the South was going to keep the turn “up going” and  he did just that. I understand now why T.I. has self proclaimed himself as the King. He delivered one of the most energetic performance I had seen from rapper. T.I  travel’s  with an amazing sound system that he showcased by playing music from Rihanna, that  turned the  dome’s atmosphere from concert to party.  It sounded as we were  listening to a C.D. as  he  energetically performing  his medley of  from his first hit  “24’s” to songs from his new album “Trouble Man”. .Affiliate Nation was responsible for bringing them here and getting us in check out the footage from I.D.D.O. Productions below:

Grab It Designs Provides Customers with Unique Shopping Experience

Joey and Models

Two large racks of unfinished men and women’s clothing, greet persective shoppers as they enter Grab It apparel’s design studio. Unusual ? Yes,but that is what makes the shopping at studio a unique experience.

“All of the clothes on the racks are unfinished so when customers decide to purchase them they are finished, so that each customers garment is tailored to the customer” said Joey Redditt Grab It Founder.

It was two years ago the budding 22 year-old desginer created Grab It designs and opened a design studio with the intent to showcase his talent and provide customers with a unique shopping experience.Prices for Grab It apparel range from 15 dollars , for a tshirt, to 60 dollars for a dress.

“People go boutiques and have an idea of what they want but cant find it, when I come to Joey’s Studio if he hasn’t already made it he can make it for me” said April Bell Grab It model and customer.

Redditt,who studied Studio Art at Baton Rouge Community College, said he can only remember one time when he made the same garment twice. When customers come into his studio if they cannot find something they like in the studio they collaborate with Reddit on a design.

Redditt said that most of the designs he collaborates on with customers can be made within 24 hours after being sketched.

“I’m not really inspired by one particular thing I wouldn’t consider myself a designer, I look at myself as an artist who uses as clothing medium” said Redditt

Besides designing new clothing Redditt offers a unique service to his clients called “Upcycling”. Upcycling is done whenRedditt takes clothing from his clients and gives them a “makeover”. Redditt said Putting different button on a new shirt or bleaching an old pair of jeans can give them a new look and can be done before getting rid of clothes.

Joey Dress

Although he has been working as a designer for two years Redditt made his first tshirt ten years ago to commemorate the late r&b singer Aaliyah after her death in 2001.

Redditt said he wanted to become a designer after working in retail and noticing the high amount customers were paying for clothes.He was first asked by his cousin to design a unique sweatshirt to wear. Even though he had no sewing skills or formal design training, attempted to make the sweatshirt for his cousin.

“I added zippers to the sweatshirt, but instead of sewing them to the sweatshirt I glued them instead and he wasn’t happy with the way it came out.”said Redditt

Instead of discouraging the budding designer Redditt said his cousin helped him purchase his first sewing machine. Although he had help acquiring the tools bring his sketches to life he still needed to learn the skills to properly execute his designs.

“ I did not know how to sew but, I was still working in retail so I would look at the clothes and how they were constructed”said Redditt

Redditt said the first dress he constructed he originally planned to make a skirt for a christmas tree, but instead decided to make dress for woman. After made finished the dressed many of his friends and family were surprised to find out that design clothes and sew.

“Its so insipiring that so Joey has been able to come so far from teaching himself , he is puts so much passsion in to everything he creates” said Alysia Delone Childhood friend and Customer

Although still early in his career Redditt said the highlight of 2012 been when a longtime client commissioned him to make a wedding dress for her.

“I had no idea she wanted me to make her dress until she showed me the fabric, and she liked it so much her fiance had me surprise her with another (custom)  dress to wear to the reception” said Redditt.

Redditt said he plans to work on not only expanding his mens collection in 2013,adding accessories to his women’s line a putting more time into developing Grab it Kids .Grab it Design studios is located at 12087 Old hammond highway and open from 11am-7pm Monday- Saturday. To schedule an appointment contact Joey.Redditt@gmail.com.

Joey Dress

15 year-old Publishes first Installment of Fantasy Series

Reading 15-year-old Raheem D. Allen’s  book I Am Rick: Zane’s Destruction is like riding a literary roller coaster , for teenage readers. Published by Haste Maker Ent. in August, the story begins on a  fast-paced, unpredictable and exciting ride through Baton Rouge.

The story is a Harry-Potter-meets-X-men teen novel set   Baton Rouge  in the year 2067. The main character Rick is an average teenager trying to navigate his way through life and  high school.  Rick keeps to himself for the most part because of his special powers. Soon  Rick learns that he is not the only one who poses  the “gift” and that city of Baton Rouge is home to other “gifted” children, who attend  Baton Rouge’s School for the mind Body and Soul a training ground for other  children with special powers. After not only  finding out he is not the only “gifted” child Rick  also discovers that will have to rely on his powers to help save world.

“I was inspired to create the story because growing up  watching superheroes  I always thought why do they always have to be adults?” said Allen.

His parents, Dewey Allen and Kimberly Eubanks, encourage and support his writing, and his father is one of his inspirations.

Zane’s Destruction is the first of the four part I Am Rick series. The Baton Rouge High School sophomore  is working on I am Rick: The Crystal of Life, to be released summer of 2013 .

The young author aspires to have a career in the entertainment field and using his YouTube channel, chidori1239, to broadcast his comedy performances. The Kindle version of I am Rick: Zane’s Destruction can be purchased on Amazon.com for $2.99.

Allen said  is currently working to make the series available at Barnes and Noble bookstores.

 I am Rick Zanes Destruction

Chicken Shack enters Mobile Food Market

Chicken Shack Truck

One of Baton Rouge’s most long-standing restaurants has joined the mobile food industry thanks to the leadership of the Delpit family’s fourth generation of entrepreneurs.

The great grandchildren of businessman Thomas Delpit has taken the famous Chicken Shack recipe mobile with a new express food truck.

“My sister and I came up with the idea after she went on a trip to Texas and saw how popular food trucks were,” said Douglas Smith, 25, manager of the Chicken Shack Express and Delpit’s great grandson.

The Chicken Shack Express Truck serves  some of Shack’s most popular dishes, including poboys, sandwiches, fish, and shrimp dinners with sides and of course the Chicken Shack’s famous fried chicken.


“One of the greatest things about having a food truck is that unlike a typical restaurant, we can go to where our customers are instead of expecting them to come to us,” said Smith.

The truck operates Monday through Wednesday, 11am-2pm  on 4th Street Downtown Baton Rouge, and Thursday and Friday from 2pm to Dusk at Mr. Lee’s Carwash on Washington Street.

Just like his grandfather, Joe Delpit, and great grandfather, Thomas Delpit,  Smith is pursuing his dream and helping the family business grow at the same time.

Smith said that once he had the idea of starting a food truck for a long time and it motivated him leave his job at a securities company in Tennessee and relocate to Baton Rouge.

“I really wanted to turn this idea into a reality, If you really want to pursue a dream or goal you can’t only do it part-time you have to give it 100 percent,” said Smith

Smith said that since it’s opening at the end of May the Chicken Shack Express truck has received great feedback from its customers and local business have requested to be added to their list of stops. He also said that due to popular demand the restaurant hopes to have an additional truck by this time next year.

“I’m taking the business skills that my grandfather instilled in me and I am putting them back to our family business so that it continues to grow even more,” said Smith.

Donated iPads give added motivation and challenge gifted students


Room 123 sits in the pre-K quad behind the main building of Glen Oaks Park Elementary School in North Baton Rouge.

The classroom looks like a small children’s museum, decorated with posters and charts, mobiles hanging from the ceiling, art projects covering the walls, colorful bins of blocks and markers, vegetables growing outside in a garden, a corner library, and two guinea pigs.

Anyone who enters the class will be overcome with the desire to learn.

And that’s the way the teacher, Bertha Hinojosa, wants it.

“I want my students to be exposed to a variety of things,” she said.

“One unique thing about children is they are very inquisitive; I want to encourage that.”

Hinojosa’s been teaching for more than 30 years, retired twice, and returned to teach gifted and talent students.

She has amassed nearly 1,000 books for her classroom library which is organized by reading level.

She spends her weekends shopping  library sales, garage sales, and thrift stores to find books.

“I keep all the of books organized by reading level so my students can see what level they are on. I encourage them read at that level or higher,” she said.

With the collection out growing the class’ corner library, Hinojosa wanted  her expanding  collection to continue grow so she decided to get iPads for her 16 pre-K and Kindergarten students.

Not only would she be able to incorporate modern technology in her students learning but one, eight-gigabite iPad can hold up to 6,000 books and take up less space than the actual books.

The students could also be challenged to use and master the new technology in their learning.

“Technology and education evolving together is very important, because now–more than ever–most jobs are technology instead of labor based,” she said.

East Baton Rouge Parish School Superintendent Bernard Taylor agrees.

“It’s thinking outside the box, being innovative, and relating the use of technology in education and daily life to children at an early age that can only help increase their ability and motivation to learn and the success of the school,” he said.

Hinojosa has seen her students become more motivated.

She said this enthusiasm for learning sparked by the use of iPads in class could be the reason that a large majority of her Kindergartners are reading at or above a first grade reading level.

“Before we got the iPads I had 14 students who were trying to use only four computers to learn and take Accelerated Reader tests. (The iPads) have really helped increase the amount the students learn in the time we are here,” said Hinojosa.

Now, the tests are taken on their iPads and scores are sent to parents cell phones.

“This gives parents and guardians more ways to stay involved,” she said.

Hinojosa said the iPads have helped open more lines of communication with parents. Many times parents will call or email with suggestions on what applications are good to use.

“With such equipment, they have their pulse on and immediate access to more innovative information and educational formats and are wired in preparing for their future,” said Taylor.

The iPads have encouraged the young students to develop their overall knowledge of more advanced subjects including math concepts, names of U.S. Presidents, and matching states with their capital cities.

Four-year-old Addison Robertson identifies all 50 states on a blank map and 3-year-old Owen Waguespack is already adding and subtracting because of iPad applications.

Originally, Hinojosa’s plan  was to receive iPads through a grant, but funding would not be available until after January 2013.

“We wanted them by the time school started, so we decided to find donors on our own,” she said.

She and coach Ron Robertson, contacted parents,  friends and local businesses including Cargill  Inc. and District 5 Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards, who provided the class with first-generation iPads.

The class has six iPads, but Hinojosa hopes to receive enough donations for a classroom set  of  16  to monitor each child’s individual academic progress.

Under a new Louisiana law those who help Hinojosa reach her goal, by  donating iPads,  would be eligible for a tax credit.

“Technology is always changing and people always want the latest versions of gadgets and now they have a chance to help children learn when they get rid of their old ones,” said Hinojosa.

Thanks to legislators, a person or business is eligible for a tax credit of 40 percent of the cost for property donated which is of a “sophisticated and technological nature” including any computer or data processing equipment which is capable of being used for purposes of research, research training, or direct education of students.For a new iPad donation, a person could receive as much as a $200 credit. Glen Oaks Park will provide donation receipts.

“We’d love to get this technology throughout the entire school. Imagine that,” said Hinojosa. The school is located at 5656 Lanier Drive.


Mayweather to host party in Baton Rouge and Affiliate Nation’s CEO discusses company’s future.


“Citizens of Baton Rouge should not have to drive for hours to be

entertained. The entertainment should be in their backyard,” said Adrian

Hammond of Affiliate Nation Productions.


True to this belief, Hammond has brought some of the most popular entertainers in the world  to Baton Rouge. This weekend will be no different as Affiliate brings boxing champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather, to Famous Theater, 150 Mayflower Street, Saturday,  Oct. 13th.



“The Famous Theater is one of the nicest venues in Baton Rouge for

adults to be entertained in the city and will provide a great back drop for Floyd

and his fans,” said Hammond. Mayweather  has been referred to as one of the

best and most talented fighters in boxing today. Having  43-0 record and a

recorded 26 knockouts along with eight world championship titles in five

weight classes.


The party starts at 9p.m. with local deejays DJ HI-C and DJ Groovekid. General

admission tickets, available at www.themaineventbr.com, are $10.


Hammond said the boxer is not traveling to Baton Rouge to only have a good time

with his fans but also to give back to the community. Mayweather will

speak to youth at the Louisiana Leadership Institute during his visit.


“It’s important for kids to see someone at his level of success and hear

about the struggles he went through so that they know that everyone goes

through them”, said Hammond.


Hammond started Affiliate Nation Productions in 2002 as 51/50 Productions. Since

then he takes credit for bringing productions to Baton Rouge, New Orleans,

Houston, and New York that have headlined by Mary J. Blige, Tank, Lil’ Wayne, and

Rick Ross.


“At Affiliate Nation we plan to bring popular artist to Louisiana on a quarterly basis”, said Hammond.


After Mayweather, Hammond said Affiliate will focus on bringing music mogul

Sean “P. Diddy” Combs to New Orleans early next year when the Big Easy hosts

Super Bowl XLVII.

Q&A with Inside Higher Ed Magazine co-founder Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik the editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed magazine. He has been quoted regularly in publications nations wide and has published articles in publications that include the The New York Times and the Boston Globe. Jaschik answered questions about higher education issues ranging from the benefits on of attending college online to how the housing market can effect college attendance.


Are programs like the ROTC still a good option to use to help fund higher education?

ROTC is an easier sell if you are not afraid of going to Afghanistan. A lot of people see giving a few years to military after college as a good way to be debt free upon graduation. Now that the possibility of going to war has decreased peoples interest in the program has decreased.


How has the country’s rise in foreclosure affected retention rates for college enrollment and retention?

Families in poverty rent affected but middle and upper middle class families ,who can afford a home, are. Historically a way for many families to pay for college was to take out a second mortgage around the time the children were preparing to attend college. If your house is “underwater” or foreclosed or you haven’t been able to make enough of a dent in your debt then that option is not available. So home equity has been a huge source of income for higher education. There were a lot of working class and middle class families that were able to take advantage of this have been hurt due economic downturn and the value of homes decreasing across the country.


More and more college students are graduating with large amounts of Debt what is borrowing money to pay for school a decision.

Sometimes borrowing can be smart, If you are in a nursing program or any program that has high career placement after college, then go ahead borrow, enroll full time ,graduate, work full time and pay it back. The mistake people make is they borrow a lot of money, take one course a semester, and in most cases they drop out and will have debt and no degree. There are many misconceptions about borrowing sometimes people say they hear “ borrowing is terrible you never want to borrow”, but they may miss an opportunity to advance themselves. Borrowing too much or borrowing if you don’t have a good chance of getting a career that’s a problem. If borrowing is what determines if a student can enroll full time then it is the best thing to do especially for low in come minorities. Particularly for low income first time generation students if they can borrow and enroll full-time their odds of completing are very high. Many people are hear a lot of horror stories about borrowing, but many don’t realize it all depends on where you go. For example if you go to a community college you’re not going to have 50 thousand dollars in debt.

Could you explain the differences between Federal and Private Loans?

Federal versus Private Loans is a huge issue. Federal loans have a lot of protections for example if you go to grad school or experience severe health problems you can defer repayment. Worst case scenario if you died your parents aren’t stuck with the bill Federal Loans are heavily protected. Pretty much no protections exist for private loans. Many people do know the differences between them are so great. Im not saying that private loans are aren’t a good option for everyone because each person has their own family and financial circumstances, but people need to understand the level of risk with each and most don’t. The best places to look are the Education Department’s website and our websiteinsidehighered.com

What are benefits that can be obtained from online Education?

One myth in the mainstream media that is minorities are not active online and this is not true. Online education creates a lot of interesting opportunities for all kinds of students to study with to students near and far, study courses they might not have access. The vulnerable person and most of the times it will be a minority, who doesn’t have a trusted advisor to explain options people can make the the wrong decisions. Online education is similar to what I said about about loans, students need to be savvy “consumers” when it comes to online education.

What would be a good major for someone who knows they want to go college, but is not sure of what pursue?

I believe in the liberal arts education. I studied history and never took a journalism class in my life. I believe that to be successful, in Journalism, Business and many other fields I believe people need to know history and have an understanding of literature. Of course health and business related areas are also ways good areas, but I believe that with a liberal artist general education and lot of internships would be a good path to a career. Also foreign languages are always great to pursue along with studies


Mayoral Cadidates Discuss issues

The four Mayoral Candidates of Baton Rouge shared with area Black journalist some of the biggest problems facing the city and how their platforms will solve them.

Mayor-President Kip Holden (D) who is seeking reelection and his challengers : Councilman J. Michael “Mike” Walker Sr. (R), Gordon Mese (I) and Steve Meyers (I) shared, how they plan to improve economic development,downtown and lower the city’s crime rate.

One big problem facing the city of Baton Rouge is crime and Councilman Walker explained his plan for solving the problem that the city has received national attention for.

“The wrong people are living behind bars, citizens are living in homes with bars on their windows while criminals are outside running free.” said Walker

Walker said that has taken more of a should have more of a reactive approach toward elimination crime instead of a proactive one. More Police officers need to be placed on the city’s streets. Baton Rouge is currently 60 police officers short and the is expecting to loose another 30 the following year.

“People wonder at times why Police officers bypass certain calls thats because they only have so many hours in their shift and during their shift they are trying to do their job and someone else’s because they are short handed”said Walker

Walker said one way to make the city proactive in fighting crime is to create a misdemeanor jail. The city jail currently has 125 beds that are used rarely. Last year in August and July the sheriff and the constable in established a temporary misdemeanor jail at the city jail downtown.

“All law enforcement agencies were combined and placed on the street to go after those with misdemeanor warrants.” said Walker.

Walker said from those arrest made during that time 191k was made by the city. He was told by the sheriff during the search 247 people with felony warrants were also apprehended.

Current mayor President kip holden said he has made many positive changes to the city and if reelected plans to continue to do so.

“Other mayors will tell you if you want your city to succeed you have to have a vibrant downtown.”, said Holden

Holden said he is currently working to secure IT company Murtaugh’s move to Baton Rouge that would supply the with 300 jobs and is also reaching out other companies to do the same. He is not only focusing on the bringing more business to the city but also highlighting the arts so that downtown is also more attractive to the citizens as well.

Gordon Mese believes the city is plagued by an Urban and Regional planning problem and a lack of transparency from the local government.

“City parish money has spent on developments that are not in the city’s best interest” , said Mese

Mese said unified development codes have been a long problem for the city. This code is contract a city parish signs with developers that allow them to build in the city. He recently worked very hard stop half a million dollars from being given to Walmart to help its infrastructure needs instead of the city’s.

“If we would have told the first developer no we don’t want to build something that would cause us to build roads and sewer lines we cant afford then we wouldn’t have abandoned smaller projects that would’ve made the city better.” said Mese

Mese said the money from these codes is not benefiting the people. This code and the process followed by planning office follow is the reason residents have a sewer fee , garbage fee, and why it had to pass a CATS tax. Those taxes were needed to overcome years of developmental favors that financed campaigns.

“ I am running Independent and I’m not taking a penny and I will have the political will to eliminate this code that holds us back.” said Mese

Mese said the basic taxes citizens are paying do not cover their basic services and because of this citizens are being double taxed to try to solve city the city’s problems.

“We do have the money and we should start building a city that people love to live in. We have a lot of great things going on the city and it is very close to becoming something great. “ said Mese

Steve Meyers, who has ran for and lost the position eight times, is taking a different approach to campaigning for this election.

“ I trying not use as many pictures on any campaign materials so people can look beyond that and not form immediate opinions”.

Meyers said instead of focusing on “selling” himself his campaign will focusing on promoting his message. Campaigning for Mayor is similar to that of a job interview and should not really about the candidate, but how they plan to handle the problems the city is facing. All of his campaign materials will mainly focus on the Meyers Messages.

Meyers said people need look more at the issues and not the person .He chose to run his campaign this way because he believes once people see certain images or hear certain parties they automatically create an image in their head.

“ I think that in 10 to 15 years fifty percent of the people in this country will have no party affiliation and focus more on the issues than party affiliates.”

Meyers said he doesn’t have the money ,as the election gets closer, or time to buy mass media. His team will focus on creating a website that will give prospective voters an insight to his goals. He is trying to get voters to look beyond the candidates as people and at the issues themselves and plans to raise issues that citizens have not thought about.

“We have ordinances and laws in this city that are discriminatory towards certain groups and most people don’t know these laws and ordinances exist.”said Meyers

Meyers said that for the last 40 days leading up to the election to gain more votes he plans to send out emails to those who sign up through his website that is currently under construction. The emails will contain videos , no longer than a minute, of Meyers discussing his stance issues plaguing the city ranging from animal control to education.

“Asking voters to do their research and give me one minute out of their day to give you one minute out of your day is not too much to ask.” said Meyers

Meyers said he chose the number 40 because of the significance in the bible. He hopes voters select a candidate with the ability to do long term strategic planning for the city as well handle problems it is facing currently.

The elections for mayor of Baton Rouge will be held on November 6th.