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Business Person of the Month: Anne Milneck

April 2, 2014

­Red Stick Spice Co.
Anne Milneck, Owner
7970 Jefferson Hwy.
Baton Rouge, LA

(225)930-9967

Monday through Friday, 10:30 am – 5:30 pm

Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

www.redstickspice.com

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”

 – Julia Child

Red Stick Spice Company gives its customers the personal attention they expect and deserve and offers products ranging from spices to blends and rubs, from olive oils and vinegars to high-quality loose tea.  They sell the best spice blends from local chefs, award-winning grill masters, regional farmers, and they even blend some of their own. Red Stick Spice Company captures the delicious, unique flavors of our region. “Food is our passion,” says owner Anne Milneck. “In South Louisiana, we’re lucky enough to enjoy the benefits of bountiful produce and fresh seafood, and it’s important that it’s seasoned to perfection.”

Milneck is originally from LaPlace, Louisiana, and has made Baton Rouge her home for more than 20 years. She studied journalism at LSU and earned a culinary degree from the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in 2010. While her children were still at home, Anne launched a small catering business called “Lunch Lady” that specialized in gourmet boxed lunches. When the opportunity arose to purchase the Red Stick Spice Co., it was a no-brainer. “I’m a trained chef, but working in a restaurant wasn’t a good fit for my family. I work around the things I love (food) but in a less stressful environment.”

Red Stick Spice Company already had a reputation for offering a variety of high-quality spices, teas, oils, and vinegars. Anne says one of the most appealing features of the store is its ability to provide the exact amount of spice that a customer wants. And she’ll let you taste it, too. To ensure the freshness and quality of the products she sells, she doesn’t keep large amounts in stock. For the most part, what you see on the shelf is what is available.

Since buying the store, Milneck has added more spice mixes, including a few she combines on-site. Her Bayou Lafourche blend combines bay leaf and filé along with salt, garlic, granulated onion, and other dry spices. She also prepares classic French herb blends, herbes de Provence, bouquets garnis and fines herbes. She has increased the number of chili offerings for fans of spicy food, and she has a revolving list of barbecue rubs that complement seasonal foods.  Anne is also looking to add more organic spice offerings as they come available. The store also stocks award-winning loose teas along with 15 new varieties.

Red Stick Spice Company sells infused olive oils from small family farms in California, including garlic and jalapeno. The herb or vegetable is pressed in the same press as the olives, resulting in a deeper and richer flavor than simply letting a garlic clove float around in a bottle. “The difference between olive oil here and olive oil from a grocery store is huge.  A lot of olive oils are actually oil blends, not 100 percent olive.” The store also carries extra virgin olive oils, flavored oils, and avocado oil.

Anne sees small business as the key to securing the lost art of close, personal attention while shopping. “My business doesn’t move at warp speed nor is high volume a priority. For every customer to receive the attention they need, it takes time.  We spend that time with each customer.  Small businesses also play a role in helping each other. We recommend other small business to our customers – and other small businesses do the same. In this way, we create a supportive web encouraging customers to shop local.” Milneck would love to see more movement of small business into Mid-City and Downtown. “Those are areas that I’d love to see grow into communities where residents can shop, eat, and play without leaving their neighborhood and I would love to be a part of that.”

For Anne, it’s important that owners participate in every aspect of the business – sales, purchasing, stocking, and even janitorial work. “When you’re willing to do any task, you learn more about your business – and it shows.  Customers can tell if you’re fully committed. One challenge Milneck encountered was finding the right people to work in the store. However, she now has a great group of people who love working with customers. Helping customers make the most of their purchases and their time in the kitchen is Anne’s main goal. For Anne, cooking represents happiness and family and comfort and joy. She wants everyone to feel the same way when they step up to the stove.

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Book Review: Empty Mansions

March 31, 2014

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. Reviewed by Louise Hilton.

empty-mansions

Empty Mansions is the intriguing story of the making of one of the greatest American fortunes, that of mining magnate William Andrews (W. A.) Clark, and the peculiar life of his youngest daughter Huguette. Clark was a self-made man in the grand tradition of the American dream: he went from a log cabin in Pennsylvania to the halls of Congress, amassing a personal fortune in mining (not to mention acquiring an entire railroad and selling the plots of land that would become Las Vegas along the way) to rival that of Rockefeller and the other leading industrialists of the day. Clark remains one of the 50 richest Americans of all time. His reputation eventually marred by accusations of corruption – elected to the U. S. Senate in 1899, Clark lost his seat as a result of voter bribery allegations, only to be reelected the following year and serving a single term starting in 1901 – his name is all but forgotten today, even though his election scandal helped lead to the passage of the 17th Amendment that established direct election of senators.

W. A. Clark spared no expense in building a sumptuous lifestyle for himself and his family, building sprawling estates all over the country (most of which remained empty yet fully staffed for decades in the 20th century, due to Huguette’s reclusive lifestyle, hence the book’s title). Clark instilled a love and appreciation of fine arts in his children, and Huguette remained a lifelong patroness of the arts and an avid collector of Japanese art and dolls in particular. Huguette, born in Paris to Clark and his French second wife, also kept her father’s affinity for all things French.

The crux of Empty Mansions is Huguette’s story. An artistic and loving young woman who married once, briefly, but then withdrew from society upon the deaths of her closest family members, she spent the rest of her adulthood in seclusion, communicating with the outside world via letters, telegrams, and phone calls, her life taking on an almost “Grey Gardens” aspect. Perhaps most shocking of all was her voluntary move to a series of New York City hospitals, where she spent the last 20+ years of her life. Was she preyed upon by her nurses and doctors? Were her lawyers and bankers honest in their handling of her immense fortune? Was Huguette developmentally delayed which would help in explaining some of her childlike behavior?

Authors Dedman and Newell (the latter a distant relation of Huguette’s) draw on impeccable research to present a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into one of the most prominent American families of all time. W. A. Clark’s ascent is a prime example of American can do-ism but also a cautionary tale against the pull of power and greed and what is perhaps best described as obscene wealth. More than that though, Empty Mansions introduces readers to the complex and touching story of the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark.

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Early World of Learning

March 28, 2014

World Book’s Early World of Learning is a fantastic resource for preschoolers and children in the early elementary grades. There are three interactive learning environments featured:

Trek’s Travels offers narrated stories, interactive games, and original videos that teach critical early childhood themes, such as numbers, shapes, colors, and opposites.

Welcome to Reading provides leveled reading practice to develop and strengthen phonics, vocabulary, phonemic awareness, and comprehension skills. This site incorporates The Lexile Framework® for Reading to make sure every child meets with success.

Know It offers a richly visual interactive encyclopedia that will captivate early learners with non-fiction topics of interest and importance to them.

Check out Early World of Learning today in our Digital Library – free with your library card!

early-world-of-learning

 

 

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Make of the Month: Hack Your Closet

March 26, 2014

make  /māk Verb: Form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; construct; create.

You can find inspiration for so many creative project ideas through the library collection. MAKE Magazine is one of the most interesting resources we have. Each bimonthly issue is full of ideas and projects of all kinds. Here is our Make of the Month courtesy of the good folks at Makezine.com. If you try this project, please let us know and we’d love to see pictures! Post them on social media using the hashtag #ebrpl. If you have ideas for other projects, post those too!

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You can get a lot more out of your closet by customizing the space to your needs. Adding a dividing wall, shelves, and a half-height closet rod are all pretty easy to do. Read about this project to pick up a few helpful hints on reworking your closet. This is an easy weekend project, including optionally repainting your closet for a nice clean look. See the full project at Makezine.com.

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EBRPL 20somethings Gaming Night

March 24, 2014

The EBRPL 20somethings group is hosting gaming nights on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Every second Tuesday will be a board game night, and every fourth Tuesday will be a video game night.

The next gaming night is tomorrow, March 25th, from 7:00-9:00 at the Main Library. We’ll be playing Minecraft on the Xbox 360. There will be a series of challenge maps for players to complete such as “Who Can Hit Bedrock First?”, “Find the Missing Bookshelf”, “Monster Hunt”, and “Build This House.”

Patrons 18 to 30ish welcome! Visit our EBRPL 20Somethings Facebook page for more info on this and future events.

minecraft

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Household Hazardous Materials Collection Day

March 21, 2014

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Time to get rid of those old hazardous materials and chemicals that pile up in the garage or in the back of cupboards!

Household Hazardous Materials Collection Day is tomorrow, Saturday, March 22, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Memorial Stadium Parking Lot.  This is only open to East Baton Rouge Parish residents and commercial waste is not allowed. Items accepted range from batteries and pesticides to pool chemicals and tires. See the complete list of items accepted.

There are many places where you can recycle household hazardous materials year-round. Looking for more information about recycling in Baton Rouge and who to contact? Head over to the Recycling Office website.

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Writing Club at Eden Park

March 19, 2014

Are you an aspiring writer? Do you have a story you want to publish? The writers’ club at Eden Park is the place to be! We will bounce ideas off of each other, play writing games designed to conquer writer’s block, discuss plot points, work on our own writing projects, proofread each other’s work, and discuss regular publishing and self-publishing. Some assistance will be available from a retired English teacher. Adults and young adults welcome. Join us this Saturday, March 22, at 3:30 p.m.

Here is our schedule for future months:

Saturday, April 19, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 17, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 28, 3:30 p.m.

Call (225) 231-3250 for further details.

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