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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

March / April 2013

Evansville Living

Memories of Evansville

No one knows Evansville Americana like Dennis Haire. He and his wife, Margaret, love to preserve the history of this city, and their collection of local historical items extends from 1848 to the 1960s. Also providing context is Bill Bartelt, a historian who is the president of the Newburgh Museum Foundation. Here are several of those items:

Relax and Renew

Old Man Winter has officially left the scene. But as we all know here in Southern Indiana, spring is shaky. It throws a thunder tantrum and then just as quickly settles into a quiet, sun-filled calm. That can leave many of us feeling both uneasy and hopeful, optimistic yet cagey. And that’s not a surprise.

Tastes of Asia

Decades ago, Evansville probably would have called itself a meat-and-potatoes city. Not anymore. These days, families and friends gather for sushi on birthdays and Chinese buffets on anniversaries. They eat kimchi before seeing the IceMen play at the Ford Center. They meet dates for Phad Thai. And they shop in local Asian markets, where it’s common to find new, untried foods and ingredients. Here is a list of six diverse dishes that give a taste of how varied our city has become:

Mushroom Munching

To many outdoor mavens in the area, spring has sprung when the first reports of morel finds begin coming in from around the Midwest. Here in Southern Indiana, this annual renewal comes in April, and it’s the signal for mushroom foragers to head for the woods. If it’s your first time, try to hunt for morels with an experienced mushroom hunter. These earthly delights can cost as much as $35 per pound, largely because they are difficult to find. Some mushrooms can even be poisonous. Knowing where to look and what to look for are key to finding real morels.

Running Across the Globe

Everyone needs a way to escape. Michelle Walker, of Newburgh, Ind., prefers running. The mother of six has run 60 marathons over the last six years. Running helps her focus on her children and their needs, work on her to-do list, and keep her priorities straight. Walker, 43, ran her first marathon six years ago with her husband, Allen, and has continued running ever since. She says each marathon is a challenge that keeps her headed toward her goal of running marathons in all 50 states and on all seven continents.

True Boutique

Filled with ruffled clothing, chunky jewelry, colorful toys, sparkly shoes, and knit hats, La Petite Demoiselle is a handmade paradise for a little shopper-in-training. French for “The Little Miss,” La Petite Demoiselle is a girls’ boutique that holds true to the original definition of “boutique.” According to storeowner Julie Bowler, 36, not many stores that claim the word actually fit the description.

See Rock City

They were meant to direct motoring passersby to the charm of massive ancient rock formations on top of Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tenn. Yet in time, the 900 giant, minimalist “See Rock City” signs painted on barns across the country developed their own fan base. “I remember seeing ‘See Rock City’ ads painted on barn roofs ever since I was a child,” says Cecil Smith, the Indiana historian in Washington County in South Central Indiana. “They used to be everywhere, and then one day I realized there were only a few left.”

Deputy For A Day

Stepping into a squad car for a ride-along with Vanderburgh County Deputy Sheriff J.J. Budde was exciting for me. After studying criminal justice, this was my chance to live a bit of what I learned with a man who has spent six years with the sheriff’s department.   

Native Hoosier Gaffigan

You can take the Hoosier out of Indiana, but you can’t take Indiana out of the Hoosier. Comedian Jim Gaffigan, a native of Chesterton, Ind., has now lived in New York longer than he lived in the Hoosier state. Yet he still peppers his speech with words like “hogwash” and finds his Midwestern friendliness a liability in the Big Apple. Gaffigan grew up in a town where “you waved at every car that passed, whether you knew the person or not.”

Green With Envy

According to the color space experts at Pantone®, the hottest color of 2013 is emerald green. In step with this lush trend is a hand-painted parrot drawer chest from Century Furniture. Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta uses his own residences as inspiration to create his home collection for Century Furniture. His New York City home, his country estate in Connecticut, and his oceanside island retreat in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, all bring about a variety of sophisticated pieces. Available at BJ's Home Accents for $1,895.

Entertaining The Possibilities

These days, Bob and Judy Graper use their home and entertainment haven in The Lakes at Victoria Manor, near Victoria National Golf Club, to watch sports and gather with friends and family. But 11 years ago, all they had on their new property in the Newburgh hills was an idea. “When we first came out here, there wasn’t a house here,” Judy says, adding that they built the residence from the ground up.

Old School Mix

Since his days working in restaurants as a college student, Henderson, Ky., native Brooks Reitz had a knack for experimenting and creating new cocktails. Now he has his own label. Reitz’s interest in cocktails began when he worked at the Louisville restaurant Proof, where he had the opportunity to learn the mixology craft. After being hired for a management position at the restaurant, he started to rework the cocktail program.

Stay Fresh

The Fresh Market (6401 E. Lloyd Expressway) has offered fresh, natural food to Evansville since 2011. The store’s Old World market atmosphere offers a butcher shop, bakery, fish market, and produce stands, all under one roof. And now, shoppers can get the most out of those ingredients by learning when and how to best use them.

Swordfish Steak

Each year, for me, spring brings a renewed sense of purpose and an appreciation for the health benefits that come from being outside. Coupled with the Lenten season, spring also finds many individuals renewing healthier eating habits, including eating lighter and consuming more fresh seafood. This recipe caters to both sets of habits and has come to be one of my favorite ways to prepare swordfish.

Center of Attention

Feeling the Heat

Hot yoga changed Johnni Southerland’s life. And she’s getting national attention because of it. The Evansville resident was featured in the February issue of Prevention magazine, a digest published by Rodale Press. Her soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Jenna Bergen, is the fitness editor for the magazine, which wanted to highlight people who changed their lives through health and fitness.

Editor's Letter

Time for Renewal

Spring seems slower to come around this year. My daffodils, crocuses, and Lenten rose bloomed in February, though the lingering white and gray of winter still cling to the Ohio Valley. Even so, when you read this magazine the fairer season will be here.

Chew On This

Chew On This

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (3300 N. First Ave.) reopened a franchise in Evansville. The building had previously housed another Popeyes restaurant. Stepto’s Bar-B-Q Shack and Catering Co. (4430 N. 1st Ave.) has closed. Fox and Hound Bar & Grill (5416 E. Indiana St.) has closed.

Check It Out

Spring Fever

Spring is in the air at USI’s Flower Funfest, a two-day event featuring a motivational guest speaker, a 10K race, food booths, clowns, face painting, and much more. Centered around fitness and aiding those in poverty, the Funfest (April 12-13) is a mini version of the campus’ SpringFest, which will not occur this year.

Paint The Town

Celebrate spring with the 15th annual Plein Air Paint Out, First Brush of Spring, from April 18-20, in New Harmony, Ind. Each year, this historic town attracts more than 200 artists of all ages. The Paint Out turns the entire town into an art gallery, as art exhibits, art events, and artists paint the town. All events are open to the public. Events begin Wednesday, April 17, at the annual Field to Finish exhibit. The exhibit is held at the Hoosier Salon Gallery, 507 Church St., from 5-7 p.m. This reception and festival create a great opportunity to meet and greet the artists.

Musical Tour

The Evansville Philharmonic Guild, now in its 59th year, works to develop community support for the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. The Guild has established and operated a number of events supporting the EPO, including the Lollipop Concerts and the Helen McKinney Young People’s Concerts. This spring, the Guild will also host the EPO Homes of Note Tour for its 15th straight year. This tour will take place in historic Newburgh on Saturday, April 20.

Rocking Cancer

When attorney, mother, wife, and community volunteer Robin Evernham, 32, was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and given roughly one year to live, her friends and family sprung into action to organize a fundraiser. In the first eight weeks, they planned and hosted the initial 2010 Rockin’ 4 Robin benefit, raising $30,000 to help pay expenses tied to treatment, travel, and other costs.

Comfort Zone

Free As A Bird

Lisa Miller is wiping away tears. It’s hard for her to talk, so the other five people in the room fall silent, sensitive to the seriousness on her face. They’ve all sat in on the same presentation; they’ve all listened to the same words. Yet Barry and Joanne McGarrh’s Freebird’s Last Flight prison ministry is hitting Miller harder than most.

Digging In

Spring Into Spring

Blooming rhododendrons and azaleas are a sure sign that spring is here and a new season has begun. Yet Indiana’s typically hard clay soils can lack the quality nutrients these plants need to survive. That’s why these plants need a good amount of care to grow well here.


Head for the Hills

There’s a reason you get a flashlight with your room key at Canyon of the Eagles Park and Resort. It’s just a little more than an hour’s drive from Austin’s bright lights and music scene to the 940-acre nature park teeming with wildlife and opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, fishing, and other outdoor activities.


Fine Art, Front Yard

It is not hard to see why Jesika Ellis, 40, has her hands full. She’s an artist, the interim director of the University of Evansville’s two galleries, one of the founders of Evansville’s bi-annual YART event, and a married mother of two (Margo, 5, and June, 21 months). Yet her enthusiasm for her craft runs deep. A UE graduate with a bachelor of arts in art, Ellis avidly supports community efforts to bring local art to a wider audience — even if it means organizing a yard sale.

A Potter’s Deal

Evansville native David Rodenberg was well versed in the art of modeling clay before he started elementary school. Now, the retired high school art teacher will have his first solo exhibit in the Sculpture Alcove Art Gallery at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science from April 28 through Aug. 25. Rodenberg focuses on porcelain and porcelain clay vases, pitchers, and coffee cups, often incorporating Asian pottery techniques. One technique he uses involves pushing a needle tool under the clay while it’s turning to create texture on the surface.

Sounds of Success

As Backstage Bar & Grill prepares to celebrate its one-year anniversary in April, the live entertainment venue-cum-restaurant looks back on its brief history – and consequently, looks eagerly forward – with plenty of expectations to continue to establish itself as a fixture of the city’s music and dining scene. Ambitious? Possibly, but to hear general manager Shane Carey tell it, there was no grand formula involved in developing the venue’s concept before opening its doors on Main Street across from the Ford Center less than a year ago.

Artful Living

Painting on the Walls

An elegant woman feeding the birds, a page on his way to becoming a knight, and a troll hiding beneath a bridge – these are just a few details in the new mural at John H. Castle Elementary School. Michael Smith’s murals can be seen at every school in Warrick County except three. This new mural at Castle Elementary is located in the library and was inspired by the school’s name. Every wall has been transformed into stone castle walls that include three picture windows in a magical world and a dragon and talking tree.

Corks and Comments

For All Tastes

They come in suits and in jeans; with friends and by themselves; just after work and on their days off — and the wine draws them in. But there’s a lot more to a wine tasting than the substance in your glass. Tastings are about people, too. The genius of a tasting, of course, is that everything is complimentary. That goes for the information, too. Want to know what’s the best wine to pair with that balsamic chicken recipe? Chances are high that you aren’t the only one who wants to know the answer, so ask away.

Online Exclusives

Missing Pieces

Has Evansville’s bicentennial (celebrated last year) and Evansville Living’s coverage of it inspired you to learn more city history?