Celebrating 22 Years of Dogs

Tomorrow my humans will celebrate 22 years of wedded bliss. They’ll take some time this weekend to reminisce about all of the adventures they’ve shared. And, naturally, they’ll remember the dogs who have been with them along the way.

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When my humans met, Mommy already had Sheffield. In fact, you might credit Sheffield with bringing my humans together. Sheffield and a little Beagle named Abby were friends, which made my human mommy and Abby’s mom friends. Abby’s mom was dating my human daddy’s friend, and Abby’s mom and my human daddy’s friend decided to fix my humans up on a blind date. (It got a little confusing there. I hope you’re still with me.) Abby’s mom gave my future daddy some very good advice before that first date: You have to win over Sheffield. Without Sheffield, you don’t stand a chance. Daddy took that advice, showed up with a big bone for Sheffield, and the rest is history.

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One thing led to another, and my humans marched down the aisle September 16, 1995, in Houston, Texas. A guest at their wedding just happened to own two Golden Retrievers, brothers Bow and Arrow. At the reception, he and my humans talked about his plans to breed Bow. My humans said that they would be interested in adding one of Bow’s puppies to their new family, and the guest promised to keep them posted. My human mommy still remembers the day that the phone rang (back when people actually had home phones). It was Bow’s daddy sharing the big news that he thought Bow’s girlfriend, Sandy, would be having puppies and if she did my humans would get first pick. Shortly after that, Talbot joined Sheffield and the little family started to grow.

My Sister, Lexi


Several years into their marriage, my humans moved to a place called Galveston, Texas, a small island off the coast of the Lone Star state. Sheffield and Talbot made the move with them, and everyone settled into island life. Eventually my human mommy joined the board of the Galveston Island Humane Society. One day my humans volunteered at a pet adoption event. They were in charge of finding a new family for Alexis, an older terrier mix. Alexis didn’t have the shiniest coat and her teeth showed some signs of obvious dental neglect, so she was a hard sell. At the end of the day, no one wanted Alexis . . . except my human daddy. He had fallen head over heals in love. So Alexis came home with my humans as a foster dog. Less than twenty-four hours later, she joined Sheffield and Talbot as a permanent member of the family. In addition to her new home, she also had a new name–Lexi–because she had decided that she wanted a new name to start her new life.

Harper Lee

While my humans still lived in Galveston, their little family dwindled. First they said goodbye to Sheffield, and then they had to let Talbot go. It was heartbreaking, but Lexi soldiered on. She made the move with them to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and that’s when Yours Truly entered the picture. One weekend morning, my humans were looking through the newspaper. For some odd reason, my human daddy turned to the classified section (which he normally never ever did) and noticed an ad for Golden Retriever puppies in a little town outside of Baton Rouge. My humans looked at each other and said, “Let’s just go look” . . . as if anyone ever just goes to look at puppies. Before the end of that day, I had waddled my little puppy butt right into my future human daddy’s lap, planted a huge kiss on his cheek, and I was all set to become the newest member of the family.

Tallulah Bee

Lexi and I shared our humans for several years before she too had to leave the family. I was an only dog for a while. That’s when my humans got serious about researching responsible Golden Retriever breeders. They discovered Rhythm Golden Retrievers in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and got at the end of a very long waiting list. Meanwhile, the humans decided to make a move from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. The day they closed on their new house in the Crescent City, Mommy received a text: Rhythm Golden Retrievers had a new litter of puppies and one of the girls was going to be our newest family member. It wasn’t the best timing, but it was the best news. Tallulah Bee would be joining our family.

So my humans have seen 22 years come and go. They’ve had the heartbreak of saying goodbye to Sheffield, Talbot, and Lexi. But they’ve also had the joy of filling their lives with the unconditional love of man’s (and woman’s) best friend every single day of their married life. Tallulah and I are so happy to celebrate this anniversary with our human mommy and our human daddy, and we hope to be right there by their sides to celebrate many, many more.

Cheers, and happy 22nd Anniversary!


Treating Tallulah’s Cabin Fever

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This photo was taken in 2015 in front of my former home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My old neighborhood, fortunately, escaped the historic flooding that has devastated so many in Baton Rouge and throughout South Louisiana.

After a series of bright shiny days, the heavens opened above South Louisiana late last week. As bad as the rain was for us, it was much, much worse for the parishes (that’s what we call counties) around us. So many have lost so much. And, as I write this (or dictate it to my human mommy/blogging assistant), people and their pets are still being rescued from the flood waters. We wish our friends in neighboring parishes all the best as they begin the long and challenging recovery from unprecedented flooding. Water in your home is never a good thing.

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While thankfully we escaped the flooding, the rain brought its own set of challenges to our home. My little sister, Tallulah, developed a serious case of cabin fever. On normal mornings, Mommy and Tallulah start the day with a very long, very brisk walk. (My daily leisurely stroll follows.) The goal of these walks is to exhaust Tallulah’s excessive energy levels. The constant rain meant that–at best–Mommy and Tallulah could only dash around the block . . . not nearly enough to tame the beast. And that’s when Tallulah’s cabin fever started to set in. My human mommy quickly determined that we would not be able to cure Tallulah’s condition. We could only hope to control it.

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Mommy thought that occupying Tallulah’s mind might make her body forget that it was–essentially–caged. So she pulled out the puppy puzzles.

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This puzzle was mine long before Tallulah ever saw it, which is the case with most of the doggy things in our house. Here’s how it works: A human puts a treat in each of the little holes and then covers the little hole with the sliding cover. The dog is then supposed to slide the cover open to get the treat. This puzzle was a no-brainer for me. (You can click here to read how I conquered this challenge years ago.)

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Tallulah? Well, let’s just say that my little sister is pretty. Ok, that’s not quite fair. It took her a little longer than it took me, but she did ultimately figure out how to get to the treats . . . with one exception. There was something about those blue covers. She never once opened the blue covers. Mommy says an animal behaviorist would have a field day with that.

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When Tallulah started grabbing the first puzzle by those little knob things on the sliders and running around the house with it, Mommy decided that is was time to switch to another puzzle. (Clearly, this cabin fever treatment was not working.) So she pulled out another of my old puzzles. Again, the treats are placed under those blue paw-print covers and the object is to lift the covers off and get the treats. That’s the object, anyway.

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This one really threw poor pretty Tallulah for a loop. Perhaps it had something to do with the color blue again. Who knows? Although she wasn’t quite getting the hang of the puzzle, she was doing a fine impression of a Shar Pei.

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I have to give my little sister some credit and say that Tallulah eventually solved this puzzle. Gee, you really don’t know how hard it is for a big sister to say that. And I also have to admit that when I first approached these puzzles, I was a good bit older and wiser than Tallulah is now. But let the record show that I am the puppy puzzle queen in our house.

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Eventually we put the puzzles away and Tallulah and I got back to doing what we do best on a rainy day: driving Mommy crazy with our out-of-control wrestling. Uh oh, it looks like Tallulah’s strain of cabin fever just might be contagious.

52 Snapshots of Life: Week 7–Love

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A Note from Harper Lee’s Mommy

I was planning the perfect snapshot that would perfectly represent this week’s theme: love. Should I snap Harper Lee with a cherished toy? Or perhaps a favorite treat? Maybe I should get a photo of Miss Lee frolicking with one of her many canine loves? (Though not a floozy, little Miss Harper Lee does have lots and lots of boyfriends . . . in all sizes and ages.) I even thought about using an old image from an Instagram photo challenge more than a year ago–a black and white of Harper Lee’s paw in my hand taken to depict a similar theme: lots of love.

And then this happened. Harper Lee’s human daddy snapped a family selfie before the start of the Mystic Krewe of Mutts Mardi Gras parade a couple of weekends ago. I looked at this photo–the three of us together and smiling–and thought, “That’s it. That’s love.”

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Today I’m linking up with The Lazy Pitbull for the 52 Snapshots of Life photo challenge. Click the link below to join the fun and visit the other participants!

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Black and White Sunday: Marathon Cheer

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I spent the morning cheering for all the humans running the Louisiana Marathon.

Good job, runners!

Thank you to Black and White Sunday Blog Hop hosts Dachshund Nola and Sugar the Golden Retriever.

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52 Snapshots of Life: Week 2–Music


 My hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is also home to swamp blues, a genre of music that gained popularity in the 1950s and inspired musicians like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton. This mural is just a few miles from my house. It was painted by local artist Charles Barbier and pays homage to a number of area blues musicians and blues venues.

My human mommy and I visited the mural on a cold and drizzly morning, which I suppose is entirely appropriate for the blues. The mural was made possible through a partnership with the Walls Project, Mid City Redevelopment Project, and Cash America Pawn, owners of the wall on which it’s painted. A mural celebrating blues music and musicians on the side of a pawn shop . . .  I guess that seems entirely appropriate, too.

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Today I’m linking up with The Lazy Pitbull for the 52 Snapshots of Life photo challenge. Click the link below to join the fun and visit the other participants!

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On the Seventh Day of Christmas: Shopping Around the World

Photo by Jewel McDonald

Photo by Jewel McDonald

And on the seventh day of Christmas . . . I am celebrating the time-honored tradition of the post-holiday sale with a little Shopping Around the World. Today, bloggers from near and far are joining my friends Bacon and Fozzie to let us know what they pay for five seasonal items: soup, a real Christmas tree, cold medicine, a hot drink, and a random item of each blogger’s choosing. So I sent my humans out into the world with their shopping list (actually, they just shopped in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA), and this is what they found.

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SOUP: Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup–$2.79–My human mommy loves this soup . . . so much so that I didn’t get even the tiniest little taste. There are four servings in each box. Simply pour the contents into a bowl, microwave for a couple of minutes, and enjoy. Mommy says it’s delicious.

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REAL CHRISTMAS TREE: Your Basic Five- to Six-Foot Tree from Lowe’s–$34.98–My humans and I go the fake route when it comes to trees, so the weekend before Christmas we set out on a mission to price real trees. We were shocked to discover that most places no longer had trees in stock. We were also shocked to find out how expensive real trees are. Mommy just purchased a new fake tree this year for less than $50, and it’s pre-lit. Sounds like we’re going to stick with fakes.

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COLD MEDICINE: Walmart’s Equivalent to Zyrtec–$4.47–When it comes to colds, Mommy’s a real believer in prevention. She washes her hands like a crazy person and takes Zyrtec allergy relief tablets when she needs them. This month she was feeling a little frugal so she bought the Walmart equivalent with 14 tablets. So far so good, knock on wood.

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HOT DRINK (CAN ALSO BE A HOT TODDY)–Catdaddy Spiced Moonshine–$19.99–Technically it’s not a hot drink . . . it’s not even a hot toddy . . . but my humans say that it really warms you up from the inside out. The bottle says that it has “hints of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.” Mommy says that it tastes like Christmas. It certainly has the ability to bring out the jolly in the humans.

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RANDOM ITEM–Gingerbread House Kit by Wilton, a Michael’s Exclusive–$8.99–Just before Christmas, Mommy was in Micheal’s craft center buying ribbon on sale when she spotted the gingerbread house kits, which were also on sale. She made her first gingerbread house–with my help, of course–last year, so naturally she had to make this random purchase. I have a feeling that gingerbread houses have now become a Christmas tradition in our home. One more item to add to the shopping list!

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Curious about what all of my friends from around the world paid for these seasonal items? Click here to connect with Bacon’s blog and he’ll put you in touch with all of the shoppers. Shop ’til you drop, friends!

Harper Lee Time

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The holiday season can be hectic for humans. There are decorations to display, cards to address, presents to wrap, treats to bake, and parties to attend. It can all be a bit overwhelming, and sometimes humans forget to take a little time for themselves . . . and for their four-legged friends. So today, after my human mommy and I dropped the Christmas cards into the mailbox, we headed to the LSU lakes for a little Harper Lee time.

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We enjoyed a leisurely stroll and spent a lot of time smelling things . . . well, I spent a lot of time smelling things. Mommy spent a lot of time tugging on my leash and saying “Leave it, Harper Lee” over and over and over again. But then she remembered that it was Harper Lee time, and she slowed down and let me sniff every little thing I wanted to sniff . . . mostly.

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We stopped so that I could do a little bird watching. I gazed at the last of the white pelicans. They pass through our area in the fall and then continue on their journey farther south for winter. I saw some ducks coming in for a landing, and tracked the loons as they glided across the water.

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And then the egret and I decided to compare profiles.

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It was a nice break in an otherwise busy day. During this time of the year, when things start to get a little too hectic, I hope you’ll stop and enjoy a little me time . . . and remember to include your four-legged friends.

My Annual V-E-T Visit

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When I woke up this morning, it was raining cats and dogs. (You know that’s just a saying, right? I mean, cats and dogs were not literally falling from the sky. Well, of course you knew that.) Clearly, this was not going to be a good hair day.

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And then my human mommy delivered some devastating news. Because of all the rain, we would not be going for our morning walk. What? I have webbed feet, so I seriously did not see why we couldn’t handle a few puddles. Apparently, though, Mommy’s feet are not webbed, so she vetoed the walk. Whatever. But there was a silver lining to my rainy-gray-cloud day. Instead of taking our morning walk, we were going to the V-E-T for my annual checkup.

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Now I know what a lot of my puppy dog friends are thinking right now: Going to the V-E-T is absolutely not a silver lining. In fact, for a lot of you, going to the V-E-T  is actually one giant gray cloud. (You’ll note that I am spelling out V-E-T because I know that for some the mere mention of the word makes you tremble.) But I have to say that I love, love, love visiting my V-E-T. (You can click here to read all about my friends at Jefferson Animal Hospital and the laser treatment I had there for my elbow dysplasia.)

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Mommy, can’t you see that it’s raining and I’m eager to get into the V-E-T’s office? Take your silly picture and let’s go.

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And just when I thought that going to the V-E-T couldn’t possibly get any better, we walked through the door and there was my friend Honey, who lives down the street from me. Time to meet and greet and catch up on all the neighborhood gossip.

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And of course, kisses, kisses, kisses. (Note to my blogging assistant/photographer/human mommy: If you cannot learn to take non-blurry action photos, I’m going to have to find a new photographer.) Honey and I could have stayed in the reception area playing and kissing all day long, but apparently humans have these things called schedules and appointments, so we had to go our separate ways.

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After a quick weigh-in (just for the record, my weight is perfect), I went to a very exciting back room for my exam. My V-E-T checked my ears and my eyes . . . and then he looked at my teeth. Turns out that I’ll be going back to the V-E-T in a few weeks to have my teeth cleaned. You may recall the last time I had my teeth cleaned. As my dear piggy friend Bacon said, I was a DUI–Doggy Under the Influence. (The photos are here if you need a good laugh.)

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Then came the needles. Oops . . . I guess I should have warned you that photo was on its way.  I had a little blood drawn and then got poked several times with various vaccinations before having something squirted up my nose. I did not see that coming, but through it all I was a real trooper and never let out the slightest little cry.

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The next part of the exam was a little humiliating. Let’s just say that it happened pretty far back from my nose. I have a feeling that they do that part last because it’s a little hard to make eye contact after a human has been back there doing that. Fortunately, everything looked good under the microscope. Is that too much information?

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And just like that, my annual V-E-T visit was over and I was back home. Between visiting with my friend Honey and then being the center of human attention while I stood nicely on the exam table, the whole morning was quite exhausting. I think I’ll just put my head down and take a little nap. Wake me when dinner is served.

Rerun: Wall Art, Literally

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That’s right. My human mommy/blogging assistant is still away. I wonder if she’s forgotten about me. Never! She’ll be back, but until then I think we should revisit some of the beautiful public art in my hometown. I sure wish we could revisit the beautiful winter day when we went to these sites. It’s getting a little hot in South Louisiana. Anyway, Mommy says that a lot of new wall art has popped up since this blog post first appeared and that we’re going to show it to you soon. I think a cool autumn day will be soon enough . . .

Last weekend my humans and I set out in search of Baton Rouge wall art–literally, murals that have been created on exterior walls. Boy did we find a lot of it. My human mommy was inspired by a news story about one of our newest BREC parks, Convention Street Park, which was dedicated late last year. The downtown park includes a 90-foot mural (technically, it is a mobile mural because it’s on canvas and attached to a wall).

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The mural was painted by artists Alex Harvie and T.J. Black as part of the BR Walls Project. This section depicts a downtown neighborhood called Spanish Town, the oldest neighborhood in Baton Rouge, which is famous for its Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade and ball . . . and pink flamingos. It’s a long story. I don’t know about you, but I think I look pretty good flanked by two pink flamingos.

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We stopped at two other BR Walls Project murals while we were downtown. The one above was painted by Joseph Konert on the outside of Harrington’s Cafe. It blends the grace of a swarm of butterflies and the expansive calm of the aurora borealis (you just have to trust me on that, or you can click here for a link to the BR Walls Project to see close-up photographs).

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This one was painted by artists Saliha Staib and Clark Derbes on an exterior wall of a building that houses the McGlynn, Glisson & Mouton, LLP law firm. It’s called “Cinq Umbre” and consists of multi-colored quadrangles. I think it even manages to make a dull parking lot look interesting.

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Our next stop was in Old South Baton Rouge, just outside of the downtown area. This mural is on an exterior wall of the old Habitat Imports building about a block off of a fairly main street in my hometown. My mommy and I pass it every other week on our way to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, where I do physical therapy for my hip and elbow dysplasia. We’ve admired this very large mural from afar, but we were completely blown away when we saw it up close. This was the first mural completed by the Museum of Public Art. I absolutely insist (as only a Golden Retriever can) that you click here so that you can see the entire mural.

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This mural is called “Tribute to the Old School New York Graffiti Artists” and it’s another collaboration. New York City graffiti writers James Top, King Bee, and Part One tagged the top of the wall, which depicts the side of a subway train. Dr. Kevin Harris, who created the Museum of Public Art, painted the bottom portion, which depicts the train trestles and graffiti on the walls of the station. It really is an amazing work of art that is accessible to thousands and thousands of people every day, day after day.

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As we continued to travel away from downtown Baton Rouge, we passed through an area known as Mid City. Mid City has its own share of wall art. The photo above is of a section of a mural painted on the side of a vacant building. It was so realistic, I thought I could smell the cheese in the little shop behind me.

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The mural above is on the side of the Jambalaya Shoppe. Do you feel like you’re in the South Louisiana swamp? I wonder if those ‘gators are having any luck with those fishing poles.

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These last two murals are on either side of the building that houses Denicola’s Furniture & Upholstery.

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I am so glad that my mommy decided that my human daddy and I should join her in a quest to find wall art throughout Baton Rouge. I have no doubt that we have only touched the surface of our city’s public art offerings . . . and that you and I will be seeing more in the future.

Honoring the Heroes

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This coming Monday is Memorial Day in the United States. The three-day weekend kicks off summer vacation season and revolves around beaches, barbecues, and baseball. More importantly, Memorial Day is a time to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

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My human mommy and I started this day with a visit to two memorials that honor local heroes who lost their lives serving the citizens of our state. Our first stop was the Louisiana State Police Memorial.

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Names of 26 fallen state police officers are on 12 pillars that flank the memorial fountain. The earliest hero was Officer Neill A. Yarborough, Sr., who died in 1925. He was only 32 years old and had worked as a state highway officer for just three months. The most recent hero, DPS Corporal John Kendall, died in 2011. He was 64 years old and had been a DPS officer for seven years and nine months. He had also served in Vietnam with the Marines and was a retired Louisiana State Police sergeant with almost 23 years of experience. To read more about each officer, please click here. Their stories will make you very, very thankful for the sacrifices made by these men and their families.

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The Louisiana Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial is just a short walk from the State Police Memorial.

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The Roll of Honor lists the names of all known Louisiana firefighters who have died in the line of duty. One hundred six names dating from 1859 to 2011 appear on the granite wall and the plaques beside it.

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An eternal flame pays tribute to the traditional fire code 555–five rings of the fire bell three times, known as “The Last Call,” to indicate that a firefighter has been lost.

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I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend filled with tons of fun and sun. I also hope that you’ll take a moment to remember the brave men and women and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who continue to serve each and every day.