Like all struggling graduate students, Abby Meaux had to come up with creative ways to cut corners. Having amassed a large number of photographs from constantly snapping away, she started making quirky little coasters out of them to give to friends as homemade gifts. Needless to say, they loved them. And so did their friends, and their friends. Figuring she might as well make a little extra dough to defray her school expenses, she started her own studio, Meauxtography, where she sells the coasters, tiles, portraits and prints. The coasters are vibrant and unique, featuring photography from around Lafayette and New Orleans. She can also take pictures that you already have and make coasters out of them. Not only are they oh-so-cool sitting on your favorite coffee table, but they are also specially treated to withstand heat and can be used as trivets on the counter or table. The coasters are only $5 for already made items, and $7.50 for custom made ones. For more information e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 296-4096. — Maria Capritto Lambert


Chef Donald Link is a one man food movement. Link grew up in southwest Louisiana in a family steeped in the German tradition of smoked meat centered along Hwy. 13 on the Cajun prairie. Following in the footsteps of Paul Prudhomme, he brought his own brand of Cajun cooking to New Orleans when he opened Cochon six months after Hurricane Katrina. He stocked the larders of Cochon and his other, more traditional New Orleans restaurant, Herbsaint, with house-made sausages: andouille, boudin, home-cured bacon and even duck confit. Now he’s into condiments. His newest addition is Cochon’s Abita Beer Whole Grain Mustard, made with whole grain mustard seeds and local Abita Beer. The mustard is based on his German heritage and is designed to accompany Cochon’s handmade, cured meats and sausages. It’s available at Rouses Market in Youngsville and at www.cochonrestaurant.com, $4.99 for a six-ounce jar. — Mary Tutwiler


When Ashley Judice was 16 weeks pregnant, her ultrasound delivered devastating news: Her unborn child had a dreaded birth defect. Medical literature indicates that 80 percent of parents in the U.S. who are informed of this diagnosis — spina bifida — choose abortion. But Ashley and her husband, Chad, did not want to be in that number. Instead, they prayed for a miracle. Now 13 months old, little Eli is doing remarkably well; his parents believe he will walk. The Judices have turned their ordeal into a newly published book titled Waiting For Eli: A Father’s Journey from Fear to Faith. Chad Judice, a teacher of civics and American history at St. Thomas More High School, tells an inspiring story of the fears and hopes of a young couple, the book bearing witness to the power of faith, prayer and perseverance. The 176-page hardcover book is available through bookstores nationwide. It can be obtained via the Internet (www.acadianhouse.com) or by mail order from Acadian House, P.O. Box 52247, Lafayette, LA, 70505; or call (800) 850-8851. It retails for $16.95 plus $3 shipping. — Leslie Turk

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