The Art of Never Quitting. How Serenity Dance & Events and Ave Allure Survived

Daren and Dan Bourgeois of Avenue Allure and Events at Serenity

Daren and Dan Bourgeois join Local Leaders: The Podcast #122 to discuss their businesses Avenue Allure and Events at Serenity. You won’t want to miss it!

Transcript (Beta)

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you have heard me say many times on this show that in my opinion the top three covet affected businesses were beauty shops event venues and restaurants my guests for today actually owned two of those three businesses darren and dan bourgeois own both events at serenity located in denham springs just short of watson and avenue allure located in the denham springs antique district today we’re going to learn about them their businesses and how with a never quit attitude and a strong faith in god as well as a belief in each other they were able to keep their businesses surviving even in the face of a pandemic so with that welcome darren and dan the local leaders of the podcast thank you thank you i’m excited to have you all on today now some of you out there may be looking and saying wait a minute i’ve seen that dude on here before indeed you have dan is actually a dad of denim and was uh and joined us when we did the dads of denim podcast uh just a few months ago so you fired up for the new season always fired up for them jackets oh yeah oh yeah they got a they got a rivalry coming in town this this week yeah it’s gonna be so yeah yeah it’ll be tough but we’ll be we’ll be out there with the purple and gold and the jambalaya and all that kind of stuff so uh today is all about the two of you and your wonderful businesses which both offer some amazing services now we’re gonna we’re gonna get to know all about that we’re gonna talk about avenue allure we’re going to really talk about serenity because uh i went by there and was just absolutely blown away uh so you folks i took some pictures and i’m going to post them as we’re talking about serenity so they’ll actually pop up and uh and y’all can see exactly what i’m talking about so miss darren you have not been on this podcast before no sir it’s the first time and you are excited

for lack of a better adjective sir i’ll warm up in a little bit so uh tell everyone where you were born and raised because no everybody knows about dan we only know nothing about him where were you born and raised my parents were uh my dad was in the air force when i was born i was actually born on an air force base in alma garden new mexico she lived there for a couple of years and then um both my mom and my dad’s family were from north louisiana yeah so i spent some time there and then eventually we landed right in north baton rouge in brownsville so people just call it baker but it’s a little town called brownsville and um stayed there until i married danny in 1995 went to redemptors high school 1995. you went to her damn trust yes sir go wolves i guess they’re gone now yeah uh so you married this guy in 1995 so that’s what 27 years 26 years wow great marriage there i’d say y’all know each other pretty good right after that length of time pretty much excellent been through a lot together especially the last several years with everything that’s been going on now one thing i found interesting about you and we’re going to kind of take you have two businesses you have avenue allure and you have serenity and we want to provide a focus on both of those so uh one thing that’s interesting with you is your love for dance you actually have been dancing since the age of two yes sir wow and you’re only 18. so i mean i’m still 47 for a couple more very good look welcome to the club it’s about 45 years of dance so yeah i don’t get to teach as much as i would like to anymore you know when you step into the the leader and the ownership um all of the dance and the fun that i used to have in the exercise it it’s it’s in the past right now so yeah and you’re you’re a tap master some people seem to think that but um i don’t i do all right i was showing you my pictures and my tap shoes yeah held together with duct tape yeah that’s amazing not a lot of people likes tap anymore just me and my guy daughter carmen are pretty much the two that still tap there everybody else is great in their fields but not many tappers anymore who in your opinion was the greatest tapper of all time gregory heinz yeah he was good huh gregory hines i mean we we do a tribute to him at least a shout out on social media every year on gregory hines day um it’s the anniversary of the day he died i believe but he was great i mean he’s um back in the 80s there was a movie he did with mikhail barishnikov and you got to see mikhail barishnikov tap and you got to see gregory hines do ballet and it was really good it was really really good yeah he was unbelievable and i saw that maybe yeah the storyline was kind of slow but the the dance and it was fantastic yeah and how about sammy davis jr well of course yeah you can actually if you look you can find a video i think on youtube of gregory hines and sammy davis i believe tapping with a couple of other tap greats in history and we just like to celebrate tap day and there’s an annual tap day i don’t know exact date but yeah it’s it’s a it’s still out there and if you look hard enough you can find some really good old tap stuff love it love it so you you started at the age of two and and kind of fell in love with that and i would imagine obviously you taught for many years and i would imagine that takes a good bit of when i think of that i think of patience you got to be very patient and you know um i’m one of these people i was not blessed with a lot of patience so it’s kind of like someone asked me how to do something and i watch them for 30 seconds and kind of try to show them and then i’m like move out of the way let me yeah you know i’m guilty yeah yeah yeah so uh probably took a lot of a lot of patience for you and you must be blessed with that i would imagine i mean i think except when it comes to death well no he’ll lose it before i do but you know i think out of the four of us i’m probably the one with the most patients so i mean i’m talking about our son zachary and braden they seem to have taken danny’s patients avenue yeah i’m usually just kind of it’s gonna be okay but you know yeah excellent she says that now she says that now that’s right

so so you moved right along you were dancing all that sort of stuff you graduated high school and uh your mother thought it was important that you go to college and you kind of tried that and you were a uh you loved hair too it wasn’t just dance that you loved you loved hair right tell me about that my uh my best friend from high school charity um her mom miss barbara had a salon in her front yard and we would just hang out in there all the time like all the time it was we were rarely ever in her house we were always just go hang out in the shop of course mom drug me to beauty salons my whole life i remember the first one i went to they still had cigarette ash trays in the dryer chair earlier with my age i’m really showing my age but i wanted to go to beauty school right out of high school and mom had said you don’t want to stand on your feet all day you’re going to tear your back up you need to go to college and i went to college for a little while yeah but um when i was 37 all of a sudden i just made a decision when i was at my mom’s i was like i’m going to start beauty school in the fall and i started in that november and graduated a little over a year after that wow awesome and loved it obviously from the start considering you own a business now and uh well two businesses but one specifically for beauty and some other things that we’re going to discuss right so your first salon that was blondie bourgeois salon yeah tell me about that so uh well we were still i guess zach was still in middle school braden was in elementary school and i had been a stay-at-home mom and so the one luxury of being a hairdresser is you can kind of set your your schedule around your kids and your family so um danny went and got me one of those little pop-up things um right here from the portable in antique villa yeah yes yes it’s a little shell of a building and then you have to like fix the inside of it but it was a seat shop i did that for probably about seven or eight years and um i kept saying we were like steel magnolias and truvies i mean you just you know anything went in there you could talk about anything you could let you kick your feet up let your hair down and we just did good hair in there and i could only imagine the conversations that go on in hair salon i mean it’s got to be you probably know as much as their priest and everybody else about them

i’m still young in my hairdressed career not young personally but young in my hairdresser career and um i’ve had quite a few life-changing you know conversations in my chair so um yeah you kind of act like a therapist sometimes yeah yeah well that’s a good thing and you obviously enjoy it and and uh it’s been a life love for you actually yeah the the little ladies that i used to take care of now that’s that’s where you get your stories yeah yeah i can imagine working in a retirement home nursing home facility salons you it’s i had another lady who did that who once told me it was a ministry because you do it for very little money um but it’s the relationships and the things that they tell you and things like that that’s that’s where you really get your blessing i can imagine a beautiful thing a really beautiful thing now uh you’re moving right along in life and you got all this and in between this time you must have met this guy right here yeah fell in love at first sight yeah he sang to you and you were like oh lord she did

so it was funny my brother owns a pelican drafting service house plans and all that and i was in real estate at that time this was in 92 yeah 92. so i’d go over there and get coffee you know so i did like everybody else walk right past the receptionist and go get me a cup of coffee brother owns the business you know i figured i got a little lead way yeah that’s right she was on the phone so i walked by and i said hey how you doing and i went on in you know got my coffee man she was right under my elbow and i said she looked at me she said who are you here to see you know and i was like oh okay you know just tell me which one’s my brother and i put the coffee pot down and walked in ronnie’s office i said ronnie who’s the new guard out front she walked in ronnie’s partner’s office and said who’s the new out front oh that’s funny so then we started going to lunch ronnie and i and his partner greg we always went to lunch on fridays and of course darren would go and just kind of took off from there yeah and the charm on it put that chart that’s it that’s it it was it was like novocaine a slow process but it always worked

he was singing to me he would call me on the phone and he would sing to me and i just i mean you’ve heard him sing oh yeah yeah i fell in love with him when he signed

i love you

very good very good so y’all are rocking right along after that and we want to mention uh you have some we’re going to talk about avenue right first here uh so avenue allure is located in the antique district yes sir i mean you have been going going on a little while and you you know you were an instructor uh you’re an instructor as well um so yeah yeah that’s right that’s right a little uh little bragging rights i mean yeah that’s a great thing and so you took that you took hair full circle um another interesting thing about you is that you handle the hair for the 13th gate yes so just a little plug for the number one haunted house in louisiana yes yes yeah they are um and just you know i mean yeah it’s um it’s this is going to be my 10th year and um i applied for it when i was still a student um in beauty school and it was literally just a facebook ads you know do you like to do hair do you like to do makeup we would like to you know have you on our team and i showed up with just pictures of mannequins i didn’t have a lot of updos because i was still a student and so most of the work that i submitted at my interview was mannequin heads and i guess that was creepy enough for them so they hired me bj pawn and gunn and denham springs wants to buy your am wanted gold jewelry gold coins and gold bullion with 30 years of experience operating in the livingston parish area bj palm wants to be your source when selling your gold so stop by bj pawn today for a no obligation offer b.j pawn a proud sponsor of local leaders the podcast

it was perfect but you know i mean um since then i’ve gone back to a couple of beauty schools and um given classes on how i do my updos there’s actually a formula for zombie hair i don’t people understand that but there really is i have this little formula i put together and it makes their hair last and um so yeah this will be my 10th year love it it’s amazing and you know you are really that kind of makes you the updo master i mean i don’t know about all dominate the update i don’t know about all that but um if people think that about me well then i’m incredibly flattered and honored that you feel that way says the guy with no hair

i mean i can tell you formula that’s right there’s a guy there that um i don’t know if he’s going to be on the billboards this year but if you’ve ever seen the creepy clown there he um has no hair yeah and he has little suction cups with really weird looking little hair attachments and we stick them on his head and he does the same thing yeah he’s um he’s i think they call him dimples or something yeah he’s pretty creepy but i don’t know if he’ll be back i’m not sure so but we can do things with bald hair yeah

so so the interesting thing about europe dudes and especially as it relates to the 13th gate is the you know 20 minutes you really have to do these updos in between perform i guess performances you call them right and then even more interesting than that they have to hold for like five hours and like heat humidity all of that stuff so uh good luck figuring out how to do that without blondie bourjois you know there’s it’s there is you just have to well one thing that i learned from miss france is that um dental springs beauty college another little plug for my almond water is you got to tease it and pack it yeah tease it and pack it so we tease and we pack and we spray and um it’s it’ll stay i can make it stay love it so avenue allure which we’re working our way back to it is in the antique district uh what was the building before it was avenue allure it was kelly hennessey’s the glass slipper yeah um even just about a day ago i was telling someone about it and they were like wasn’t that kelly hennessey’s old place the glass slipper and i’m like yeah that’s what the building is famous for yes and it’s it’s a beautiful building it’s right there on the corner let me tell you folks i went in there checked it out it has the best view in denim springs from where it is um you you’re looking out on the train station um you can see the water tower in the background just everything you would want uh so how fortunate to be able to look out on i never saw that coming yeah yeah what a crazy where life brings you isn’t it yeah it is you think you can’t do something but all of a sudden you can that’s right that’s right and it’s important to mention that avenue allure doesn’t just do hair a lot a lot of different things in there they got some beautiful clothing in there so it’s a boutique of sorts and and some pretty cool shoes in there i actually saw a pair i told my wife you need to get that right there yeah there he goes cute boots uh so um it’s not just hair you do makeup yes all of the stylists there pretty much will do makeup i’ve kind of stepped away from it but uh there’s they all have those talents you know yeah maybe if i get big enough i can hire a hair and makeup person from give us a call because we would love to yeah so just a really beautiful facility tell me about all the services y’all offer every avenue yeah we have six stylists there i’m gonna just go ahead and name them we have uh stephanie we have hope we have morgan we have betty who manages it we have um miss kristen and we have me and then my guy baby uh carmen runs the front desk excuse me and um we do full service hair makeup we are really starting to make a name for ourselves in extensions um and you can get like facials there um all the makeup you need done i mean just anything you want to get done in a salon or like a day spa yeah you can get done there we can’t do anything that breaks the skin um we can’t like do barber things and shave people now my son is in barbara college right now so in about a year we’ll have a barber in there who will be able to blade shave but yeah so he can shave a balloon without popping yeah he’s going to have to yeah yeah i always wanted to get a straight razor shave on my on my head i just take a bit to it every night yeah uh well fantastic so it’s really a one-stop shop for all things beauty is is a good way to sum that up it is absolutely beautiful it’s in the historic part of denim springs which is you know that’s hard to beat period and you open this business uh here at at avenue allure in 2018 right yeah so um betty was going to be with me in the backyard and she i knew that she wouldn’t be able to build a clientele she needed so we started looking for a place and she kept saying man wouldn’t it be great if we got the glass slipper if we got the glass slipper and i was like man we’re never going to be able to afford that you know and her mom had actually called in january and spoke with um the landlord mr tom and she was like yeah for y’all starting out that’s going to be a little out your price range but danny and i went back in april of that same year and when we called mr tom was ready to kind of work with us and so i mean literally it was kind of a cinderella story we got the glass slipper and um you know we moved in and opened up like a month later amazing amazing and and uh i could not i could not uh really compliment you any more on your choice of building and the location is just hard to beat even just from a convenience standpoint it’s right in the order denim i mean right there so go check them out uh for all of those things they just mentioned and i do want to say i want to actually read this off um because you said it better than i ever could so i asked you uh about avenue and and kind of your key to success there and you said the key to success is absolutely my team my future daughter-in-law’s the most successful young lady i’ve ever i’ve ever met and she’s only 22. uh she runs the salon because i spend so much time at serenity now you’re someone that always kind of credits other people i noticed throughout reading your questionnaire which she speaks to your character right i didn’t get here on my own yeah i wouldn’t be here now and um i mean that goes you know that just that’s what you’re that’s what you’re supposed to do you’re not supposed to i mean the lights are on me right now but you know you can tell i’m kind of uncomfortable about that and if it would have been up to me i’d have brought everybody from serenity everybody from the salon you know but um yeah so betty i first met her you know she was just just sweet and a little quiet and shy and um i hope she realizes that as much as she and i kind of pick at each other i am wishing that i would have been half the woman that she is when i was her age she is just amazing amazing focused and kind and just so incredibly talented yeah yeah now dan let me ask you um that during this time uh where let’s take it back to where she was looking for a location for that salon you were involved in this obviously uh heavily yeah um what did you think what did you think of that location you were you like man this is perfect or were you like no it was good i um you know we looked at a couple of venues um i poured a bunch of concrete in the old blondy bourgeois shop at home so we had an extra driveway and it just got crowded i’d come home from work nowhere to park you know just yeah i told and then betty was graduating which betty’s our future daughter-in-law near future um she needed a place in there too so i started looking at the salon and i said two chairs let’s go take a ride yeah so we jumped in the jeep we took a ride around we looked at a couple other places on 16. thank god um we were riding in the antique village and i asked darren i said didn’t y’all try the old glass slipper you know and she said yeah we went and looked at it so let’s go look at it again so we pulled up sat there between the whistle stop and the salon and we sat there and we stared at it for a little while i said call the number call mr tom let’s let’s talk to him let’s get him here so he came in opened the door the leather i mean the leopard skin smith yeah so and that’s why i told her i said baby i said whatever it takes this is what i mean that’s how much faith i have in darren i mean yeah anything she does she puts her heart into it as you can see a lot of the stuff we’re doing so whenever she does that i don’t have any fear that one day i’ll retire yeah maintenance man right i’ll retire right well that’s fun work yeah and uh it’s good to have this handy guy by your side when the you know when the electricity starts sparking or something we keep knocking the pipes yeah we’ll be in the middle of shampooing and the garbage cans are right under the sinks and you’ll knock the pipe loose and then water just goes everywhere and we’re like you know can you come fix that so i built all kinds of barriers but then ladies all these ladies yeah they go around the barriers yeah knock stuff loose you know he does i’m the maintenance man so yeah he really does there you go we’re gonna call you bookman get you a tool belt yesterday

people young folks are probably home trust me

so check out you know check out avenue lore if you haven’t had the opportunity yet what a beautiful uh shop there right there in the ant district now i want to provide a little bit more of a focus on serenity went in there and i was absolutely blown away folks when i tell you it is absolutely beautiful in there not only is it beautiful not only is it laid out the way you would want it to be regardless of the venue that you’re trying to uh promote for example if you’re a uh if you’re a band or uh you’re a you know high school band of some sort that wants to go there and play instruments um and you want to do a concert i guess you would call it um it’s great for that if you have a wedding it’s great for that um bar mitzvah no problem you name it they can make a heck if you just want to have a party they’re going to party with you and they’re going to make it right but it is 15 000 square feet of fun right down the road uh from avenue allure right before watson on the left hand side if you’re coming in from denim you will find events at serenity so i want to read this is this is you know i’m going to be quoting this lady often in this show and the reason is um when i asked her to fill out a questionnaire she was extremely thorough with it extremely well written um and there’s a lot of important things that only she could really say so i’m gonna quote uh something you said about serenity when i asked you about that you said serenity is the little business that could when we opened sorenity in 2016 key date folks we renovated an old pizza kitchen for three months we had our grand opening party the saturday before the flood and then we got over two feet of water in the building so the saturday before the flood folks talk about the highest of high and the lowest of lows right uh my business partner at that time got about seven feet of water in her house and her car was destroyed she had to relocate to a family member’s house across town i told her that since our house didn’t flood we would take care of the studio cleanup so she could focus on her home right again character tells you what kind of people these are uh it took three months which was a blessing uh we were able to open in december of 2016 business started to pick up and we were doing really well then a bar opened up two doors down that caused our families not to feel secure now this is prior to the location they’re at now right during night classes we moved to another site in the same building in 2019 things improved a bit but another bar went right across the street and um not that they have anything against bars don’t get yeah it’s it’s just these are young kids going from dance class and stuff and it’s just a different atmosphere than what would blend so it was obviously something you were very concerned about yes uh we just focused on making sure the kids were safe when they came in and left and stayed locked up i was teaching one night in february of 2020 when danny came in and told me my mom had a stroke and a heart attack we rushed to monroe where she was in the hospital danny and i were able to be there when she passed 10 days later kovy was just starting to hit the news but wasn’t rampant yet two weeks later my business partner who was a mom decided she needed to focus her time on her family about two weeks after that i knew if we closed the kids we were teaching would have nowhere to go and register late in the season and still not be able to be in a spring show so i hired staff and we decided to keep going and not quit that’s kind of like your theme in life for both of y’all right don’t quit look you were getting thrown some serious uh just parts of life that you had to deal with all at the same time this is you know hopefully this stuff gets spread out and it and in your case it was just one thing after the other and i’m a big believer and god doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle and um and you know your your attitude of don’t quit was a big part of of why you were able to kind of persevere through that um but you eventually moved from that we did and you went into serenity uh where i was talking about which is down the road uh what what it used to be everybody says it used to be they always say is that the old something building yes it was a live oak supermarket okay okay so original live oak super supermarket next to paradise pools yes and then freedom church bought the property and then celebration bought the property from freedom i think that’s how it worked out got you but it’s been vacant for or what i don’t know three four years prior for a little while it’s coming in okay okay good deal so you’re you’re there now and i’m sure a lot of work for you dan like right let’s let me let’s rewind for a sec so from the old building to this new building there again the jeep has really saved us on the rides you know because i told darren let’s go take a ride and it’s funny when we go take a ride her and i will go out there and just find locations we passed by there again where the event center is now and we looked at it and i told darren what about this place well we talked to them and it’s the same mo as avenue allure yeah so we made another call and there was a there was a lady miss carrie carrie for senator gary everson’s who’s with covington realty right so miss carrie walked in with us showing us the place and darren and i were just trying to get the vision right yeah she kept saying over and over if someone had the vision the vision the vision yeah so darren came up with a great idea and she said hey miss kerry if we give the church 250 let us walk the place on a sunday by ourselves and lay out the vision and that’s kind of where we’re at now so it’s a great idea good thinking she’s awesome i’ll give you a little money put some money on the line and if i can just hang out in your building for a couple hours maybe i can come up with a vision well you had a great vision there with the you know one of the things that i mentioned at the beginning i love the layout it’s just it flows very well regardless of uh regardless of what type of event you’re having there um but you did a really cute thing when you eventually moved in with your students that were at your previous facility right tell us about that so they had um they were pretty much learning uh virtually because we knew that our june show wouldn’t happen so we were going to have to move it to august and so um we the staff was still like videoing and adding to their choreography and we would upload it to youtube so we hadn’t seen them in a couple of months and so the first thing we did was i had told staff hey i need you to meet me at this place we’re talking about renting it for our august show i mean i’d like you all to kind of look at it and see what you think and so we took them in one by one it was mallory mckayla and dalen and carmen i don’t know i don’t know if i i think carmen just knew because i mean you know she’s practically family and then crystal had interviewed there but anyway danny caught him on video and we would be on stage and i’m like so what do you think about this room what do you think about the stage you think this is big enough and blah blah blah and then all of a sudden i’ll be like what if we just made this our home and you could got all of their reactions yeah it was like do what we decided to kind of do the same thing for our students you know they were all down they weren’t in school summer vacation was coming up they didn’t even know if they were going to be able to go on vacations things like that the show was being postponed and so um we sent them on a scavenger hunt and all they had to do was they had to like figure out these little clues and it would lead them to different landmarks like home depot walmart yellowjacket stadium and they would have to take picture of like a selfie in front of each location i think to find the next clue and so once they did that the final clue said you know um the address of the new building and so we were standing out front and they would just drive up and you know some of them had their mask on and some of them did and i’m like well this is your new this is your new home and um we gave them like little gifts and things that said like you know popcorn thanks for popping by our new home things like that and so yeah crystal had gotten gotten all of those pictures and everything and it was it was a really cool way to do it they were excited yeah to say the least and i’m sure you are as well it was amazing because the thing is is that you know where we were was right at 2 000 square feet and you know everything was maintained six feet distance six feet distance you couldn’t do that you’d had a class of three in our location um but in the new location you know we had all this room to spread out just and so um i think you know the we managed to make it through last year um i don’t think but maybe one or two little um two families may have reported that they had gotten covered but um our studio pretty much steered clear of it and it’s just because we do have so much room yes knock on wood and thank you jesus but um there’s just so much room in there so the kids are able to spread out yeah it’s hard to keep them apart you know like i walked out the other day and they were all like talking it was the level three students i was like come on now you know spread out but um you know that’s having that much room is really a blessing yes it really is and you can you know there’s nothing worse than growing in your business and really outgrowing where you’re at and you don’t have that problem where you’re at that’s a great thing um especially you know hopefully after this show you’ll you’ll fill up all 15 000 square feet that’s right that’s what i’m praying thank you so much so so you you know one of the things i noticed when i went there it was the layout and i want to mention this you know weddings um and receptions and things like that are things that can be performed at serenity right yes sir one of the great things is you have an interesting um way in which the groom and the bride cannot run into each other no matter what tell us about that yes sir so we took one of the rooms and turned it into what we call like a little bridal suite um danny really made it really nice there he made like a um fireplace set up and we’ve got some antique furniture in there and um it’s yeah it’s it’s really cute and it’s right next door to our little salon so if they needed to go in there and get their hair done they could and their makeup but it’s a nice sized room with refrigerator in there changing area and just really really cute and then if you were to go out and then left there’s two closed double doors that go to the back offices and there’s a really long hallway in that back area is two entrances to the stage so um we put one of the rooms back there danny calls it the green room for the bands and stuff of course you do i call it the groom’s room but um it’s just a nice long you know room it’s really quiet private um tv refrigerator a couple of couches a foosball table yes and yeah and you know the the good thing is is there’s enough room in that back hallway to where the groomsmen can step out into the hallway and they we’ve got racks for them to hang their stuff and um so they pretty much have that whole back area and then um there’s no way with those doors closed that the bride and the groom will ever run into each other he can get completely onto the stage for the ceremony from the back and she can walk around the hallway into the front and they stay they completely stay away from each other yeah amazing and uh just a nice perk that you don’t necessarily get everywhere sometimes you know people do run into their significant other before the wedding and maybe it wasn’t laid out quite right or or i think you know things just happened but this is this will alleviate that almost to zero possibility of that’s happening so keep that in mind yeah um when i went by uh i heard some man a guy was playing that guitar when i walked in so danny dan dan has a band and um and they rehearse in in the grander is it the grand rape the grand hall yeah the grand hall uh-huh they rehearsed there and um i walked in at the right time boy because he was picking on that guitar and i’m like ooh would i just walk in on uh and they were doing a little band practice but when i walked in that room the interesting thing that i noticed was the lighting on the stage uh the stage folks is is big it can accommodate 40 to 50 people on that stage so let’s say you had a a ensemble uh band that that you were wanting to do a concert there 40 or 50 people can get up there and play instruments and those sorts of things and then you have the like i guess the main part of that hall and that is wide open and they can accommodate several different types of seating y’all tell me about the different types of seating yeah so basically basically on the stage itself it’s a 38 wide by 30 deep so and then there’s outlets throughout carl was from celebration church was a bass player in their band and you could tell because the acoustics in that room he really built that stage for acoustics and it’s it’s a sound room so on the floor itself it’s 65 feet by 65 so you can put 400 at the aider seating yeah you can do give or take you know with kobe we got to spray it a little bit more sure round table seating you’re probably at about 175 200 spread out yeah but you really can get about 250 at table yeah so yeah it’s a big room and it’s it’s wide open uh beautiful lighting in there everything is i guess you would call it the can lighting that is flush with the ceiling and uh so totally updated i mean it just blew me away walking in there the ceilings are probably i don’t know how many feet tall they are but yeah that’s uh let’s see probably 13 foot it’s funny because i got a 12 foot ladder and i got a 10 foot lighter and everything is within spec that the 12 foot won’t fit where the 10 wheel yeah but the 10 for my short self you really need a 12. right so but uh it works out well so the lighting most of the lighting that’s on the stage as you see jay dupois is one of our elvis tributes from this area yes he’s in myrtle beach now but he will have a show for new year’s eve we’re going to have a show for jay shout out jay shout out for jay very good but uh a lot of the backlighting was from his show that he did there last year yeah and he told me sedan he says you know i don’t want to take the lights down and i said jay i said i don’t want the lights so i said just leave them up when you come back in we’ll worry about all that and wash the pricing so all that set up and then the front line lighting i was able to put some more lighting up there just for the entertainment for dance but also for the bands to get set up so yes because in a little while we’re going to get into all the different things that take place at this facility if you thought it was just a a you know concert venue you’d be wrong it’s it’s so many different things and it’s interesting i had somebody not too long ago tell me you know we need in livingston parish gym and i said what’s that and he said um a performing arts facility guess what we got one we got one we got one folks uh so um it’s just a matter of getting that out there and letting people know that it exists and the size of it um this building is tricky because from the outside it doesn’t look as large as it is when you get in there it is absolutely wide open even the the um i don’t know what you would call it but the first room you walk into when you open the door the lobby thank you lobby how can i not think of lobby even the lobby is huge i mean uh and well laid out so before we get into that i want to read another aspect of some things that you had wrote and that was when you talked about the large influences that you’ve had in your life and you said first of all jesus so uh you said i worked at leaps and bounds for years every and people around here for me were leaps and bounds and i remember their motto was servant style leadership jesus came to serve not to be served that’s what i try to do i fall short sometimes but it’s always my intention couldn’t agree with that more um you know leadership is really all about serving others who knew i thought it was about being number one for so long you know competing and bobby again yeah yeah we’ll be number one yes so uh your mom she didn’t quit uh she made sure i went to the best schools and put her life on hold until i married danny i don’t have her temper but i do have her perseverance mom didn’t quit um even right up to the time she passed she was still giving hand signals to me to stop worrying crying i miss her so much what a sweet tribute she was telling me what to do you know so yeah danny you are a uh large influence in her life and she said i ask him all the time you ever get tired of wearing that cape he’s my superhero he’s seen me at my absolute worst and he’s seen me break down he coached football for years and he knows when i need that coach damn pep dog there you go i might call you for a pep talk every now and then you give me one too

that was very very sweet nice and and you know it it goes without saying that we can’t get anywhere we are in life without others right um and your influences in life influence you and and i used to tell my kids all the time who you hang out with is who you become you know i mean you really become who you spend your time with in a lot of ways so be cognizant of that uh but let’s get to your uh to people you worked with you want to give some uh work for and with and you gave of course you you’re always giving others credit it’s just who you are and tell me about fred gwen oh my goodness so fred gwen um well if you think i’m kind of you know quiet and shy now you should have seen me when i went to work at the ag’s office so i started as their receptionist and then um they found out or figured out that the actual section chief there did not have a secretary so um within about a year i had become his secretary um and i mean i was there during the derrick todd lee scare and i saw fred at his worst and i saw fred and all of the people that worked there at their um best when he finally was captured but um fred would see me get in these like um these dilemmas where i could not make up my mind and danny knows what i’m talking about i’m the worst at having to make a decision and so um i won’t use fred’s exact words but you know because sometimes they were not made for radio but um i was struggling over a decision he was like i need you to make a command decision and that was one of those life-changing things i was like it’s just so simple you know make a command decision and i was like you know it just stuck with me so um you know when i get in those dilemmas i just hear fred in my in my mind saying darren you just got to make a command decision you know you got to do it so amazing yeah he’s he’s um he worked for the governor governor’s office i think for a little while secretary of state’s office but he’s retired now and really involved at his church amazing tell us about piper oh my goodness so miss piper so her um her mom um i think i put in there um i don’t even know if her mom knows how much of an influence she is on me but that’s a walters tessa walters yes so um basically the way we got piper was um her mom is all about perseverance herself and she had called around just about every dance studio in baton rouge and the surrounding areas and she would ask them do you have a program for my child and i think the response she goes absolutely you know how old is she oh she’s seven you know blah blah blah and so um of course you know they were really into the cell and then she would be like okay well does it matter if she’s in a wheelchair and um i think the response that ms tessa got was you know although we’re sympathetic to that i don’t know if we’re going to be equipped to teach a child that is in a wheelchair and so um she kept telling me you know um well let me back up a little bit so there’s an actual program out there if you go on instagram you can find it it’s a little group called a chance to dance and you’ll see a class full of children in wheelchairs dancing and so i remember i was following their their instagram and i was like wow you know that is just great i love that and then like ironically this that phone call came through and so um piper kind of a celebrity um around here you know she’s been taking pictures with the girls that dress up and be all the disney princesses yeah i think they called her and told sung happy birthday to her a couple weeks ago um she’s um very miss special louisiana i think she’s won that title and um so um she comes and gets her hair cut from me and it’s about hitting a moving target because she doesn’t like to sit still but i’ll always say piper do i get a thumbs up or a thumbs down and this has been going on for a few years and i finally got my thumbs up this year all right so you know cause she’ll give you a thumbs up or a thumbs down but anyway um so basically what she does is she would come into class and we have miss marissa who has been teaching with um with me teaching her for the last couple years and um we’ve had some other students like asana and mommy they they’ve also assisted but anyway um basically you you just put on a song that she likes which when she first started with us was let it go with um frozen oh yeah yeah so the little girls just love that song but what we did was um we would just teach her you know like the basic little moves she knows how to plie she knows how to pk she recognizes those words um you know and we had a box of shred a shred box full of just those giblets of paper that come out of a shredder yeah and we used it for the snow part and so she knew if she would get through the dance at the very end we would take that box of those shreds out and i mean you couldn’t even hand it to her without her just fast pitching it at you and so like snow would go everywhere but her parents would stay and as soon as the class was over her dad mr george would sweep all up and so um we would do that dance probably over and over and over for an hour and when it was time for her mom to put her back in her wheelchair because she was in a gate trainer um which helps her stand but when it was time for her mom to put her back in her wheelchair i mean you know you’ve seen those children they just like oh you know just completely devastated that she had to go home and so um her mama told me i knew someone would find a way there had to be a way and so we found we found the way what an amazing story yes she’s a good girl yeah yeah that’s just i mean i can’t even add to that people that’s just amazing and i’m glad she found you i’m glad she did too she has impacted that whole business um that whole family over there in the way that we teach things and design things than do things it’s we’re just waiting for her to come back you know soon as covid she has a um you know problem with just a regular cold you know sure it’ll compromise her um her breathing and things like that yeah yeah well hopefully it’ll come back yeah yeah we hope so well they miss you over there piper um now you know leaders give back right they give back to their community to give back and you’re no exception y’all do all kinds of things for the community of course data denim right here uh which is an amazing organization in my opinion um in a lot of other people’s you also are the entertainment chairman for immaculate conception yes sir awesome for the fair association there uh which i enjoy every year i love the immaculate conception fair um you obviously are part of i trade exchange i believe y’all remember the chamber the uh the studio is a member of the chamber yeah yeah very good very good um you’re obviously certified cosmetology instructors we mentioned earlier and you do all the wonderful things like you just mentioned in piper’s case and and uh just a beautiful beautiful people here now serenity let’s talk about the services we’re finally getting around to these services because y’all do so many things there’s so many possibilities when i was there i’m thinking oh i could i could do this here i could do that i’m like talking her ear off about oh look i got a friend he does this we can you know all those sorts of things um because honestly i did not i was not prepared for what i saw um i was thinking it would be just average size and it would be a nice place i did not realize it was like awesome but it was um so i’m going to read what you said about the services and then we’ll kind of break them down you said um obviously y’all do all things performing arts dance vocal acting lessons acting lessons folks you know my daughter came to me like a year and a half ago and she said or might have been a year ago it might have been last year and she says um i want to be an actress and i said oh

and i’m thinking you do realize you’re in livingston parish louisiana and i said well that’s great but what do you want to be besides an actor i don’t wanna i wanna be an actress and i said well um yeah but do you have something you fall back on just in case you know that whole acting thing doesn’t work out and so she does but um i did not realize there was a place you could do acting lessons that’s that’s pretty awesome um event rentals such as weddings and parties obviously y’all do corporate events here’s another thing so if you want to host a corporate event there they can more than uh more than easily accommodate that um they have a theater in a ballroom which can accommodate 400 people uh i guess you would say in non-coveted atmospheres and another that will hold about half that uh if you had tables and chairs the space combinations go down a little bit so if it’s banquet seating obviously they do but some uh now question yes do y’all supply the tables and chairs and all those sorts of things yes okay that was probably a stupid question but i actually was wondering about and i was like i wonder if you have to bring your own chairs yeah do um there’s a salon on site and this is something i saw it literally a salon it’s got the the chairs and the shampoo stuff and all that um on site so if you’re a bride and you want to do everything from the hair and makeup to you know the wedding the reception and all in one spot it exists and it exists right here in livingston parish uh there’s a broader room and a groom room as we talked about in two multi-purpose rooms with mirrored walls there’s large guest lobbies to keep everyone safe during this time they offer preschool and after school programs not after school not yet not after school we’re trying to we need to get the plans that while we’re on the subject if anybody knows how i can get the plans to that building

they were lost in the flood and everywhere you call they don’t have really i’m serious i might know someone that can help thank you yes i can’t do anything after school we wanted to do a little mother’s day out with about five kids um for just a couple hours a day which can do but like to really get an after school or a preschool or anything like that you have to um go through the fire marshal and you can’t do that if you don’t have the plans and the plans were lost in the flood so you can’t find them wow gotcha i might get help with that we’ll see after the show what is your slogan you said be wonderful oh well at avenue allure um we were trying to figure out what our slogan would be and there’s um there is a scripture in the bible that says i am fearfully and wonderfully made and so me and betty and her mom miss jeannie just thought that that would be a really sweet like tagline for us and so um when you go to the salon most women and gentlemen walk out feeling wonderful you feel better than you did when you walked in and i couldn’t have figured a better way to describe what we do there love it love it that’s a great yeah be wonderful i mean that’s awesome um so you referenced you know one thing that’s intriguing is you opened up uh serenity initially in 2016 of course we discussed the you know the flood you had to revamp and and uh and kind of move forward um but prior to that you referenced steve harvey’s jump speech that he made right so you and i share something in common yeah because that was a big part of of why i retired from my previous job and and uh did this full time after having it as kind of a side hustle for so long that is one of the the most beautiful speeches anyone has ever made as far as and this was like during family feud and i guess a commercial break and he was just talking and steve harvey wow that if you have not heard that i’m gonna link that to the description of this video and maybe it’ll help someone else out there that is debating between whether or not they should go for their dream which is what i consider that jump speech um absolutely amazing so we talked about defining a leader it’s all about service and and we talked about that earlier um of course me and me and dan being you know ex-football guys we thought it was about being first for a long time when yeah that’s right when that’s a leader yeah and it is service service uh service is really the the key there now i want to talk something some about your classes that you offer at serenity um and it’s interesting in that they have some great handouts there folks if you want to stop by and get some handouts or you can go online i’m sure you have all that information posted but they break this up into levels tell us about your levels so we have um louise which are two and three-year-olds or yeah the early early three-year-olds um those are mommy mommy and me classes um where we ask mom to be in the class and she can participate or dad um who to participate as much as they want to or you know sometimes they just hang out and make sure that you know they’re not running away and things like that sure but we do uh little dance classes and tumbling classes for them and they’re themed so you know we have like you know a princess week and a superhero week and things like that um you have your tinies which are your older threes through i want to say six-year-olds or five-year-olds um and then it’s kind of the same thing but they don’t have to have their moms and dads in there um same thing tumbling and dance and then when you get to level one you can start getting in towards um the acting portion of it so level one is like six to nine year olds um so they’re the sky is the limit for them um except for vocal do you have level one vocals uh i think we just put them all together my youngest are seven years old he usually says they need to be able to read and so um not necessarily on a read it’s or at least know the song really well yeah if they’re too young and you know five-year-olds and all that you’re really not but once they get to that transition of six to seven and i got some seven-year-olds this year that are strong singers they really mind just like my god this baby’s only seven and so we don’t really call it a level one but i do adjust the class down to the level one step sure if you will awesome didn’t know if he knew that he teaches the vocal there i did not but it’s no surprise back again

i put them on the big stage because a lot of the kids when they come in they’re looking for a small room to sit in to hide i like putting them on that big stage because once you get that fear out of it yes then it’s over and these kids it’s amazing when you see them in an audience with crowds singing up there by themselves lighten up the world and it’s it’s our future it’s a beautiful thing it’s a beautiful thing and you know you offer ballet tap jazz acting tumbling acro right yeah they they we’ve noticed that um this last year our um i can give another plug our award-winning serenity uh project competition team we noticed when they went to competitions this year that tumbling is like really starting to be a focus in dance now it used to be kind of just a cheerleading thing but now it’s like all over the dance world and so um we have a new lady who has joined us her name is miss delaney she has a fantastic you know history and tumbling and so she is going to be teaching our tumbling classes and um mostly it’s mostly not what you would expect to see like a cheerleader or a gymnast do that’s that’s not what we’re about we just want them to be able to do certain tricks that they can add like an ariel or you know love it yeah things like that in their dances fantastic and dan you also teach the hip hop classes

so that’s one that i wish i could have brought in the studio is our lovable fabulous miss mikayla who does all things hip-hop and i can tell you um she is this the families and the students are just um absolutely blessed and love her so much i think you need to come back by and meet her because it’s an experience absolutely i would love to she would have lit this room up if she could have been here but yeah she’s great we can have her next time yes you can have a whole show with michaela yeah she’s a mess fantastic and so you’ve got some specials and i’m actually kind of digging through them here but some i guess you call them specials but but some discount stuff do you know any of those off the top so um i believe now through the end of the year all of our rentals if they are in a package situation and take a hundred dollars off because we’re just about full um i’ve actually had to turn somebody away for december already for a wedding because they had a hard date and most of our dates in december are starting to go so um to fill some of those empty days we’re trying to give a little discount here and there of course we would give military discounts absolutely at the salon if you book with me and i’m pretty sure the girls wouldn’t have a problem with that either but um military discounts um you know are always in effect yes uh let me think you’re gonna have to got some things coming up you’ve got a kickoff football season party coming up if you’re a yellowjacket right yeah that’s next weekend next weekend we’re wrapping up all things purple and gold it’ll be before okay it’ll be um next saturday at serenity that’s serenity come celebrate purple and gold purple and gold yeah lsu or yellow jackets or both like i am oh yeah you can come out there there’s it’s 15 a person for tickets and you uh you will have the best music you’ve ever heard in your life playing uh they’re gonna have a cash bar and uh and all that you can dance the night away and uh learn some hip-hop from damn while you’re there excuse me yeah there you go i’ll give you a little bit of hip-hop that’s about it my hip will pop

i love it yeah we’ve got some local vendors that’ll be there yes i know that like amy with addiction boutique um crystal one of our teachers there does hand painted art and there’s some other local businesses that’ll be there to get everybody purple and gold ready they’ve got you know there’s out in the lobby and in the hallway yeah and and we love local and that i’m glad you brought that up that would be another good use for that serenity event center is if you’re you know a trade show of some sort could even handle that i mean there is plenty of room there to set up booths and and do trade shows merry little market last year it was on small business saturday and a friend of mine named marcy she put that together and i’m kind of hoping she will this year but um it was about 30 vendors wow there and it was that was if you go back that was right after um the governor came back on and said we’re going back to phase two and so we were like oh my gosh are we gonna have to cancel it you know or whatever but um people did you know they wore their mask or or you know we kept people spread out and it was from the vendors perspective it was a pretty successful event very good so another thing to consider yeah that’s one thing that we put together for this purple and gold dance is that just because of covet you want to make sure not too many people are going down so we’ll set up the vendors so it’s kind of a earlier in the day the vendors will be there they’ll be there for the actual party yeah until roughly i think we said them to be set up by 5 30. yeah so they’ll be in the lobby and then the large hallway down the side so it accommodates there and then the actual party will be in grand hall there again i’m kind of separating the two if you don’t want to come to the party you can come do some market shopping get ready for football for any sport when i’m dancing nobody wants to be six feet for me anyway that’s a swing movie yeah you know i’m throwing down i’m doing glow sticks the whole thing whatever we’re gonna put you right up front my friend i’ll put you on stage with me i love it yeah very good did you have fun today i did i survived believe it or not we were an hour and five minutes into this thing and uh we’ll have to have you on again soon uh just so much to talk about with this amazing facility but look folks if you’re curious about any of the services they offer there if they can accommodate you um for any service you may need from them reach out to them they have a facebook you can search just search serenity event center it’ll pop up events at serenity um as far as avenue allure uh the services they offer there they also have a facebook do you have websites as well yes so avenue allure is um avenue allure dot com um and serenity is uh yourserenity.net there you go so i’ll link all of that to the description of this video as well and uh thank you so much for coming on i appreciate it great to see you again uh i want to thank everyone out there for viewing and listening to local leaders of podcast please continue to like comment subscribe and share us on all your social media platforms as we strive to shine a spotlight on all of our local businesses thank you to all our sponsors including tricia johnston realtor b.j pawn fit blinds denim springs planet planet landscaping black sheep creative william waldrop of twfg sr enterprise painting uh look at me for the imaging and milestone title we could not do any of this without all of you if you would like information on sponsoring or appearing on the show reach out to me at jim at local leaders of thepodcast.com until next time i’m jim chapman reminding you love your community support local business pull for the jackets this friday or the walker wildcats if you’re from walker keep waiting thank you very much for coming on thank you

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