Thrifty shoppers often seek hidden treasures and surprises at thrift stores. But visitors at one store outside New Orleans can also help stray animals.
The St. Francis Animal Sanctuary thrift store offers a unique gathering place for the Mandeville community — a room full of happy cats.
Sometimes customers are surprised when they notice one corner of the St. Francis Animal Sanctuary thrift store is screened off. It holds about 20 cats, who lounge around and play with one another while volunteers sit in recliners and pet them.
Every week in Old Mandeville, the gray stucco train depot comes alive for the Mandeville Trailhead Community Market. Sponsored by the city, it saw about 24,000 visitors last year and hosts about 60 vendors every Saturday.
The market is a place to buy local crafts, soap, honey, baked goods and plants. Plus, it provides many with companionship and community.
A long line snakes around the parking lot at the Castine Center near Mandeville as people wait to get vaccinations for their dogs at the St. Tammany Parish Humane Society's annual low cost vaccination and adoption event.
Stray animals are a big problem all over Louisiana, including on the Northshore. Once a year the St. Tammany Parish Humane Society organizes with other local shelters to provide a huge low-cost vaccination clinic and adoption event called Woofstock.
Norman Billiot of Lacombe stood in a long line that stretched far down the block outside a big building at Pelican Park in Mandeville.
Rafael and Beth Salcedo have a mission — to help underage victims of human trafficking. Their newly-licensed shelter is intended to help young girls across the south.
Rafael Salcedo used to work as a counselor for the Department of Family and Children’s services. A few years ago he started to see young clients who had been victims of sex trafficking. It was disturbing to him and his wife Beth.
The Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge is between Slidell and Mandeville. Founded in the 1990s, it protects endangered birds and combats coastal land loss. It’s not just wildlife that thrives at Big Branch. The park’s volunteer program brings people of all ages and backgrounds together.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness in St. Tammany Parish is trying something a little new: training people who have mental illnesses to help people with similar problems.
Roxanne Skal is a Peer Support Specialist. She works with a variety of people, both in community support groups and at the Northlake Behavioral Health Center in Mandeville. A couple times a week, she drives from her office on one side of Northlake’s campus to a little brown brick house on the other side, where she leads a group for recovering alcoholics.
Homelessness is a big issue in the New Orleans region, one that extends to the Northshore. Winter is particularly hard — shelters fill up, it is cold, and there is often nowhere to go. It can be especially hard for single men, and one organization is Slidell is trying to help.
Mark McVille has been homeless for two years. He has worked as a tugboat captain and construction worker, and was in the army for a while. He always had a pretty good job and had no problem supporting his kids.
An organization in Covington is doing what it can to help families of children with disabilities.
Northshore Families Helping Families is a family-driven resource center that provides information and referrals for families along the Northshore. One of their key events is called “Touch a Truck.” It’s a fundraiser for the organization, but also an opportunity for kids to interact with law enforcement and have fun.