Project Save Bogalusa is partnered with the UPS Foundation, Keep Washington Parish Beautiful & United Way of Southeast Louisiana to take part in National Join Hands Day on Saturday May 4th. We solicited nominees for property makeovers and were delighted by the many nominations we received. The Save Bogalusa Nomination Committee made the final decision in tandem with Charlotte Champagne, Executive Director of United Way, who developed the selection criteria; we reviewed four different nomination components: 1-Story 2-Need 3-Expense 4-Location 5-Difficulty of Task.


Save Bogalusa Executive Director Wendy Williams (center) with our residential makeover winners Miss Annie Magee and Cindy Lou Boyer

These are our Winners stories:

1)     Cindy Lu Boyer and Boudreaux Boyer, This property wins our veterans designee. Ms. Cindy’s son, Boudreaux, is currently serving active duty in the Army at Fort Riley, Kansas. He has also served one tour to Afghanistan in 2010. Ms. Cindy suffered a broken ankle last year and has had multiple surgeries to repair the damage and implant metal hardware to help her walk again, unfortunately that leaves her unable to take care of her lawn. When a friend nominated her, he told us that “she lives next to an overgrown, abandoned lot and the overgrowth has spread into her yard” Miss Cindy has been a resident at her property on Avenue H for more than 16 years.   When told to start thinking about paint colors for her home, Ms. Cindy replied, “No thank you, I just need someone to help with the yard.”

long branch cafe winner

Wendy surprises Longbranch Cafe owner Sharon Barbazon with the news that her business had won a makeover courtesy of Save Bogalusa and our partners on National Join Hands Day! She didn’t even know that her loyal and loving customers had nominated her!

2)     Long Branch Café, Save Bogalusa’s Commercial Property winner is Long Branch Cafe’, a staple of the community.  As one of its nominators and patrons stated, “So much Bogalusa history has been shared on the corner of West 9th & Ave F in the last twenty years”. Another nominator states:

Eating there often involves the customers in conversation about what is happening in Bogalusa.  Everyone feels comfortable joining into the talk. It is truly a place where you feel you are part of a family

Owners Sharon & S.J Barbazon, give back their beloved community by serving hot meals to the elderly and homebound. Sharon’s eyes filled with tears when Wendy Williams, Executive Director of Save Bogalusa, told her that Long Branch was a makeover winner.  She stated she’d seen it in the paper, but had no idea that Long Branch Café had been nominated.  She was overwhelmed with gratitude.

3)     And then there is Miss Annie Magee.  Her story touched our hearts in such a way that there was no doubt she was the overall winner. Miss Williams states, “Although I knew her need was outside of our budget, I also knew she was my greatest need and my best story. Charlotte and I wept, laughed and got chill bumps as we read her story. We went through a full range of emotions, inevitably falling in love with Miss Annie”. Wendy states “I sat down with Miss Annie at her home on Lincoln Street for an interview after receiving her nomination. She shared a story with me that was very compelling, therefore I feel compelled to share it with you”. Eighty-one years old and widowed, Miss Annie has lived in Bogalusa her entire life. The property that she lives in was her grandfather’s and to her recollection was built in the 1940’s. Miss Annie has major water leaks in her home, a sinking foundation, holes in her walls, and unsafe living conditions.  She is an elderly lady with diabetes and extensive medical needs that she battles daily and a fear of outdoor pest coming into her home at night. In her application, she stated,

I have tried to manage and do what I can because I don’t like to bother anyone. I have tried to be independent for too long. I need help!

There was no question in our minds that Miss Annie needed our help; and though this task is our most challenging, we intend to do what we can to help her.