Porch and Parish The Podcast

Capturing Community Spirit: The Story of Porch Parish and the Art of Local Storytelling

March 11, 2024 Porch & Parish
Capturing Community Spirit: The Story of Porch Parish and the Art of Local Storytelling
Porch and Parish The Podcast
More Info
Porch and Parish The Podcast
Capturing Community Spirit: The Story of Porch Parish and the Art of Local Storytelling
Mar 11, 2024
Porch & Parish

Send us a Text Message.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to capture the essence of a community in print and audio? Jen Gennaro, the creative force behind Porch Parish Zachary's Community Magazine and podcast, joins us for a story-rich tapestry of local flavor and charm. We traverse the journey of Counter Space Zachary's metamorphosis into a cultural cornerstone, and indulge in the lighter side of community narrative, complete with a sprinkle of meme magic and an impressionist show-stopper, courtesy of Mike Gennaro.

Step into the vibrant world of Zachary as we celebrate the art of local storytelling. Weaving our way through the origins of the Zachary Southern lifestyle journal, a creation born from a blend of journalistic fervor and personal milestones, we take pride in the magazine's growth into a cherished city emblem. There's a rich sense of gratitude for the warm embrace by our readers and listeners, and an infectious excitement for the tales yet to be told that paint the mosaic of our town's spirit. So, pull up a chair, lend us your ears, and let the heartwarming quirkiness of Zachary envelop you in this not-to-be-missed episode.

Support the Show.

Porch and Parish The Podcast +
Help us continue our mission of elevating Zachary by becoming a supporter!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to capture the essence of a community in print and audio? Jen Gennaro, the creative force behind Porch Parish Zachary's Community Magazine and podcast, joins us for a story-rich tapestry of local flavor and charm. We traverse the journey of Counter Space Zachary's metamorphosis into a cultural cornerstone, and indulge in the lighter side of community narrative, complete with a sprinkle of meme magic and an impressionist show-stopper, courtesy of Mike Gennaro.

Step into the vibrant world of Zachary as we celebrate the art of local storytelling. Weaving our way through the origins of the Zachary Southern lifestyle journal, a creation born from a blend of journalistic fervor and personal milestones, we take pride in the magazine's growth into a cherished city emblem. There's a rich sense of gratitude for the warm embrace by our readers and listeners, and an infectious excitement for the tales yet to be told that paint the mosaic of our town's spirit. So, pull up a chair, lend us your ears, and let the heartwarming quirkiness of Zachary envelop you in this not-to-be-missed episode.

Support the Show.

Jen Gennaro:

I'm Jen Gennaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Porch Parish Zachary's Community Magazine and podcast. Keep listening for more excellent living and engaging stories.

Mike Gennaro:

Welcome back, Zachary, on this rainy day recording session. It warms my heart to hear all of the counter space Zachary patrons downstairs today. If you're in the know, they opened up with a soft launch this Thursday and cookies are flying off the shelf. I especially love to see the ZHS students hanging out and getting coffee and creating community in this historic building. Today we have the most special kind of special guest, Jen Gennaro, editor-in-chief of PNP. She's going to take us through her journey and share some amazing stories she's uncovered locally.

Mike Gennaro:

I'm your host, Mike Gennaro, an editor of all things Field Garden. We're coming to you every Monday from the second story of the Press in downtown Zachary. This is Porch Parish the podcast. Keep listening, we'll be right back. Greenwood Park is the largest park in the Brex system. The master plan vision for Greenwood Community Park in the Baton Rouge Zoo is focusing on creating a one-of-a-kind, world-class destination for the entire East Baton Rouge Parish and its visitors, Stitching together Brex's most visited facility and largest park to transform park goers' experiences. So what's coming for Greenwood Community Park in 2024? By going to brexorg backslashparkimprovements. Now to the lightning round. All right, Jen, welcome.

Jen Gennaro:

Oh, thank you.

Mike Gennaro:

Yes, did you like that intro?

Jen Gennaro:

I liked the intro. I loved my commute here from across the hall, so thank you for having me on today, excellent, excellent, all right, I don't know if everybody knows this, but you know what.

Mike Gennaro:

I want everybody to get to know you a little bit more, outside of just your really funny social media, of which I try to like every post, even if they make fun of me sometimes. So what's some social media that you have been following lately?

Jen Gennaro:

that is not too edgy that you can share. Oh man, so many of them have bad words in their Instagram handle. I love memes. I have pretty much cultivated my Instagram feed so that it is nothing but blue chip memes. Just so many great memes, so what's a blue chip meme? You know like blue chip, like like top of the line baby.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

Like really really funny.

Mike Gennaro:

Okay, so can you think of one?

Jen Gennaro:

Um, maybe a little bit of heads up for these lightning round questions no you don't get a heads up, all right, so moving on from that one.

Jen Gennaro:

Okay, well, I will say this. I will say this, and listeners, you know who you are. We have the special kind of relationship that doesn't really consist of phone calls or like hanging out in real life, but there are about five to six people that we just send memes back and forth to each other all day long, like no conversations in real life, and that is the basis of our friendship. So I love that about us.

Mike Gennaro:

Thanks. Do you want to shout any of those, lauren?

Jen Gennaro:

Smith, my girl, and then a couple of random people from high school. This is the weirdest part Like people I was never even really close to in high school, we have forged a friendship now, later in life, based solely on memes. Yeah, shout out to you, jessica Erwin.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

I've seen you in 20 years, but All right.

Mike Gennaro:

So some of the fun that we often talk about like at the end of the day is, you know, there's this whole dark side of the of just highlighting the positive in community. There's a lot of really funny stories that we just don't share, you know, when you see something crazy on Ranson raves or I don't know, just stuff you can't write about or talk about. So we often talk about man. We should just have memes about Zachary Right. So memes and merch memes and merch, Of course yes.

Jen Gennaro:

That's where we're going. That is the future.

Mike Gennaro:

So can you talk a little bit about some new developments that you know people can expect out of Portion Parish?

Jen Gennaro:

Yeah. So are you going like the funny memes and merch route, or do you want me to talk about the upcoming issue?

Mike Gennaro:

Okay, well, let's start there. We're still in lightning round mode, so let's go lighthearted here.

Jen Gennaro:

There's been a lot of talk about Muppets both in our home and in our office. So, mike G, most of you don't know this about him, but this guy can do some voices Like. He is very talented and can, you know, reproduce almost any any voice. Do one of your.

Mike Gennaro:

Lord.

Jen Gennaro:

Yeah, yeah, do a voice for me.

Mike Gennaro:

What Like Kermit the Frog?

Jen Gennaro:

Yeah, right, like he's, so good Hello.

Mike Gennaro:

I'm Kermit the Frog, oh geez. Broadcasting to you from the press in downtown Zachary.

Jen Gennaro:

No, I've done it Now. I've done it, okay, yeah.

Mike Gennaro:

I mean we've got a lot of you know, we've got a lot of characters.

Jen Gennaro:

We yeah, meaning you yeah, if I can afford all of the puppets.

Mike Gennaro:

No.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, right.

Mike Gennaro:

The puppet, muppets. This is. This is like so off track, but you know what you guys out there, you have to know the weird factory that is us. You know you're seeing about 5% of the ideas that fly across the stage Half of it.

Jen Gennaro:

Poor Ashley Evans is usually the sounding board for all of our crazy ideas.

Mike Gennaro:

But um getting it back on track though. So yeah, I'm on track.

Jen Gennaro:

So years ago, before we started Portion Parish, I was getting really into this Instagram filters. You know where you can like, like, plug yourself, basically into an orange. So the orange like speaks when you speak.

Mike Gennaro:

The ranting orange? Yes.

Jen Gennaro:

So I started this account called the ranting orange and I did not get to the point where I was like posing as the ranting orange, like you know, commenting on people's things, but I would record just kind of rants on my own and like you would rant about ranchers.

Mike Gennaro:

I would, that's what the plan was, but you never deployed this.

Jen Gennaro:

Right, but I also rented about our preteen daughter at the time.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

Sorry, loose, but anyway that was super fun. So I often wish that I could just have this alter ego where I just get on the rants and raves and instead of you know being this eternally positive person. I just want to like get on there and be like, what do you mean? You're like really going to go complain about a scrap of tomato on your hamburger? Yeah, you know who you are.

Mike Gennaro:

Oh gosh, hamburger posts. I mean, these ranchers are basically our kids. They're just saying things that our kids tell us every day no right. And like how many times has Max complained about tomatoes on? Like the delicious hamburgers that I've made him anyway?

Jen Gennaro:

Not that often, but anyway, carry on Next question.

Mike Gennaro:

All right, next question. So you are somebody that has a dog logo on the magazine but you're not super fond of pets, like what is your favorite pet.

Jen Gennaro:

Okay, first of all, saying that you don't like dogs in this day and age.

Mike Gennaro:

It's not popular I don't mind as well.

Jen Gennaro:

Call me like a leper or like a, I don't know. That's the way you're treated Like you cannot publicly admit that you're not really a dog person.

Mike Gennaro:

But the way I explain it. I'm a baby person?

Jen Gennaro:

I'm not really.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, and we have four of those.

Jen Gennaro:

Yeah, and we have one dog and I'm very nice to the dog.

Mike Gennaro:

But of the multitude of pets and the zoo that we have in our house, what is your favorite pet?

Jen Gennaro:

Okay, so what do you think about the cats?

Mike Gennaro:

Okay.

Jen Gennaro:

I would like to state for the record that never have I brought a living thing into our house that wasn't a child we have. I don't even know how many turtles this man has brought home Tortoises, yeah. Tortoises, chickens, dogs, and it always like it's kind of like that episode of the Simpsons when a Homer gives Marge a bowling ball. Is that how it goes?

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, it's always for your birthday.

Jen Gennaro:

Here's a chicken.

Mike Gennaro:

Here's a hen.

Jen Gennaro:

It's a laying hen and I'm like you know.

Mike Gennaro:

I don't need another mouth to feed but okay, be the change you want to see in the world.

Mike Gennaro:

Okay, let's get into the serious stuff here. I don't know if this is ever going to be a serious episode. Y'all. This is my favorite guest in the world. Over here, we just have a lot of fun coming up with creative things and trying to create nostalgia in this town for the next generation and just make it as good as possible for us all while we're struggle-busting through life together. That's right, All right. So now Portion Parish has been a consistent presence in the Zachary community with this awesome, engaging content online and through the podcast, of course. What inspired you to take on this approach to storytelling?

Jen Gennaro:

Well, if we're going to get really into it, most of you know me primarily because of real estate. So I have been an active real estate salesperson in the Zachary community for more than a dozen years. But my background is in journalism, so that's what I got my degree in from LSU and I worked for Business Support 225, and Register for about six years until I jumped ship to go completely into real estate. So I did that for years and years and never once did I ever think that I would want to move on from it, because I truly I've loved my time in real estate.

Jen Gennaro:

And of course, we started our brokerage a few years ago and around that time I wanted to run an ad in one of the magazines that I just mentioned, which I did from time to time. But I had a bit of sticker shock about the ad prices and I was pregnant with, I guess, bobby or Emil or somebody at that time and I said, shoot, like, for that much money, I'm just going to start my own magazine and we'll do our own ads in there. So really that was just this, you know big pregnant hormonal idea that we just made happen. And the second that issue came out it was a Zachary Southern lifestyle journal or something like that.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

So that was three years ago this June, and as soon as we did that I realized that we were on to something so much greater and that Zachary's kind of editorially starved. Like you know, we get a lot of attention for being a top school district in the state and for athletics, but not really about for anything else, right?

Mike Gennaro:

So I mean, I don't know, is it just athletics that we were getting attention?

Jen Gennaro:

for yeah, yeah.

Mike Gennaro:

Academics and athletics and you know, some of the drama department got a good bit of attention like drama department at the high school or like drama on Rantzenraves.

Jen Gennaro:

No, no, no no drama department. Oh, okay, I don't know.

Mike Gennaro:

The band. The band get a lot of attention. Yeah, sure.

Jen Gennaro:

So, as soon as we realized that and realized that it was something that truly people were excited to see their community in print. You know, like going back to the nostalgia thing, like everybody says print is dead right, but it's truly not Like there's still so many people that love to read a physical magazine and I'm one of them.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

So from that first issue things began to not be so much self-serving.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, all right Yo we wanted the free ads right. We're in real estate.

Jen Gennaro:

We're like in our cheesy face of life In my white, white infinity face of life, the white, infinity face.

Mike Gennaro:

Now I proudly drive a minivan. Yeah, okay, but fast. She's been humbled.

Jen Gennaro:

I have been humbled but fast forwarding. Many of you may have seen my announcement on Facebook or read in the most recent in the January issue, but I decided to be official about it and really commit my life to this purpose of porch and parish and serving our community. Over the past three years it's my passion for it has grown and you know it started out super lighthearted and kind of fluffy and self-serving right and it's really grown into something that I am extremely proud of and overwhelmed with gratitude at the way it's been received in the community and I'm so truly proud and humbled to tell so many of the stories that we are, that we have told and that we have coming up in the April issue.

Mike Gennaro:

I like how you said telling the stories that we are, because the stories are us, they're us and they're our neighbors and these, you know.

Jen Gennaro:

A lot of people think that Zachary is kind of like this, you know, back like the typical Louisiana stereotype, like we're, you know, out in the boondocks. You know what I mean. But Zachary is actually a very transient community and we have neighbors from all over the world that move here all the time and move out and then come back.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

Yeah, and we'll talk about that later. But it's so interesting to meet people that are. You know, we have neighbors from Nigeria that are so incredibly smart and have all these degrees in engineering, and then you know, we have people from New York, and it's so many different religious, cultural, political views here, it's not just this monoculture. So we really set out on a mission to tell those stories and to find those people and I'm just I get chills even thinking about the stories that we have coming up. So you know, I've been committed full time to Portion Parish and have stepped back from active real estate sales effective this year, and throwing myself into this and being involved 100% in the day to day of Portion Parish has been such a game changer, not just for me but for the magazine as well.

Mike Gennaro:

And the city right? I mean, if I may be so presumptuous, I think. I think the city benefits from it.

Jen Gennaro:

I would like to think so, but I'm just. I love it here and to feel such a sense of belonging. What we're trying to do here is to help people understand that they do belong, like there's a place for everyone in Zachary.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, digress. Well, no, don't digress. When you say a place for everyone, you know we actually mean it everyone, everyone, not just the middle class, not just you know, the people that I don't know drive white infinities, right? No? So you and I, we went to an assembly required event and we heard this incredible, very energetic speaker talk about find your own weird, promote your own weird, and if somebody doesn't understand your tribe's weirdness, then forget it. You know, forget about them. Zachary's got something out there. You know it's own kind of weird. How would you define that?

Jen Gennaro:

I think that every day, we are working to define that, we're working to identify it and tell those stories you know we got and I think we've mentioned this before on the podcast, but we did get some negative feedback from the the two gay dads in the family. Issue right, and we are very. It's like the sign on Teddy's was it Teddy's juke joy?

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

That sign like it's all races, religions, colors, creeds.

Mike Gennaro:

Sizes, everything yes.

Jen Gennaro:

Everyone is welcome here. Everyone deserves to have their story told and it's like I tell my kids and I've believed this forever Everyone is the way they are for a reason. Everyone has a story to tell and you know, as Portion Parish, it's our honor and our privilege to be able to tell those stories that people are willing to tell.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, yeah, we tell the stories. People can make their own conclusions and decisions over things, but, yeah, I love that. You know the podcast. This is a an audio record of everybody's stories and we're already on, like I think this is episode one or five or six or something like that.

Jen Gennaro:

Seven one or seven.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, yeah, doing this every week for three years Wait.

Jen Gennaro:

Could that be? Yeah, we just hit 10,000 downloads this week.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, and that's that's. You know it's a really cool number, right. It puts you in like the successful echelon of podcasts all of a sudden. But I do want you all to know I think we only make 25 cents on on these things. It's not like we're raking it in.

Jen Gennaro:

We make 0.08 cents usually.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

But I was psyched out of my mind that we got paid 52 cents.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

Yeah.

Mike Gennaro:

But you know 10,000 times that people tuned in and they listened to their neighbors in a quiet manner, you know, like while they were working out, while they were working at work or doing whatever they do or riding in their cars, they were considering the opinions of others, the stories that other people were telling and truly engaging with their you know their community in that quiet way. I love that. That's why I'm the podcast guy Got a face for radio.

Mike Gennaro:

Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, okay, awesome. So do you want to share some of the stories that I don't know touched your heart the most, or some stories that are coming up?

Jen Gennaro:

that you want to, absolutely. I'm so excited about the April issue, so we ship that just before Easter and that should be hitting newsstands at on or around April 5th, so the end of that spring break week. So, as I mentioned, now being full-time in Portion Parish, just last week alone I interviewed an 89-year-old woman who escaped from Hitler in the 1930s. She was born in Yugoslavia and she had to flee and she lost several siblings in the process. Just absolutely heart-wrenching story, and she lives right here in Zachary.

Mike Gennaro:

So yeah, you see you're going out to the mailbox in Americana and it's just like how. We would have never known that this lady had this story had we not been a part of Portion Parish. And somebody was like, hey, you got to, you got to get her.

Jen Gennaro:

Mystery Evans did Yep, she's the connector. She's the life of the party. Look at that, yeah, yeah, which we are so excited and humbled to share, that I stood on hallowed ground where the Civil War was fought and an African-American leader in our community built a house on a hill overlooking the battlefield where her ancestors fought for her freedom and got it just so powerful.

Mike Gennaro:

The Bible. That was a really cool one. Somebody's World War II Bible was found when you were digging through archives.

Jen Gennaro:

Yes, and we connected back to them. We had over 2,000 shares on that post and we are happy to say we connected with the family. I spoke with one of the descendants who lives in Texas and we are mailing that Bible back to him.

Mike Gennaro:

Amazing, I know.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

And during Black History Month in February we had pretty extensive digital coverage and one thing kind of led to another, which is going to be in the print issue. But I wrote around through historically black neighborhoods in Zachary with longtime residents and I heard stories of prejudice, injustice, segregation, things that happened here in Zachary and all over America in the 60s. That will just just in disbelief that so many things happened so very recently and people's ability to forgive and to move on.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, one of the amazing things that I found about your experience doing those interviews were people's reluctance to complain Even when there were those injustices. It was like you really had to kind of dig a little deeper because, I don't know, they moved on in such a big way. And, zachary, I was researching a little bit about commercial real estate development and the connection with the arts, and there are a lot of art installations being built in the commercial developments now and art tells a story of history. And so there's this saying that I found connected to your experiences, that you can't you can't cover up history. You can't forget history. You've got to tell the story through art. You don't forget it. But we can reckon with it and move on, you know, without forgetting it. So cool, do you wanna bring up any other stories that have influenced you, or you wanna move?

Jen Gennaro:

on. Those were the big three from last week that were just top of mind right now working on those stories.

Mike Gennaro:

You know we've talked a lot about the press and what this building has meant just through your social media interactions and all that stuff or posts but why don't you kinda talk a little bit about the press and where it's at right now and how it's poised to move into the future and connect back to Portion Barus Two?

Jen Gennaro:

words banana fire.

Mike Gennaro:

All right, okay, all right, so I didn't think I was gonna go there, did you? No, this is fun, this is something that we've been cooking up for three years now, right Four?

Jen Gennaro:

It's true. Okay, so the town of Zachary burned down on June 6th 1903. Because a greengrocer was flame ripening his bananas fresh off the train that runs along the side of our building we discovered last week in going through the archives.

Speaker 3:

We cracked the code and that arsonist was Italian

Jen Gennaro:

oh no, Are you related to him?

Mike Gennaro:

No, well, we wanted. How did this even come up? All right, so we've been trying to think up what kind of celebration or festival would call out to Zachary's weirdness a little bit, so we could celebrate that. You know, celebrate our history, get into our own vibe of weird, right? And so the banana fire was such a strange thing that kept coming up. I was briefly on the historical side and I just read in Zachary's faces and places that our town burned down in 1903. That's why we don't have historic buildings everywhere, Do y'all get?

Mike Gennaro:

that Like we only had three buildings survive. This building, the press was built in 1904 after the fire. That's right, and so all of the lumber for it was milled right here on site.

Jen Gennaro:

It would come in on that train and they would just take it off and they built this house. So house has a lot of buildings. It was a house house. So house has an incredible history. It was a boarding house for the workers who built Highway 19. It was home to the Ratcliffs and Debratton families for a long time, and then the Bendas.

Speaker 3:

Bendas oh yes and obviously.

Jen Gennaro:

Wemsicle Alley. And then here we are at the press.

Mike Gennaro:

And we call it the press, because we're the press upstairs, right and downstairs is a coffee press Nothing, press coffee press.

Jen Gennaro:

Yeah, y'all get it Okay.

Mike Gennaro:

and hopefully we land Daydream Manor flower farm. They've verbally committed to being a tenant in the greenhouse area in the back and that would kind of be like a flower press maybe Now we need like a cigar press, and I don't know you can't smoke cigars because you have an autoimmune disease.

Jen Gennaro:

Okay, so anyway.

Mike Gennaro:

But you can't just say I have an autoimmune disease and like move on, I don't have like anything.

Speaker 3:

Weird.

Jen Gennaro:

Okay, yeah.

Mike Gennaro:

All right anyway, I don't have cooties.

Jen Gennaro:

Gluten free. Okay, so, as we were, banana fest, banana fire. We have been cooking up this scheme for several years and it is our hope that possibly as early as Either announcing this or not.

Mike Gennaro:

You gotta.

Jen Gennaro:

Well, we're definitely gonna do it. We just don't know really in what form we're gonna do it. Like, we don't know if we need to softball this with, like, banana pancakes at the farmer's market while educating everybody about our town's history, or do you guys want an actual banana festival?

Mike Gennaro:

Like a banana queen with a crown, or like on a float, and we have banana everything Like we're going bananas in Zachary yes, we're gonna go bananas and there's gonna be like a bucket brigade of like little children wearing hats putting out the fire. I'd like to make it a banana and Italian festival, like those two things never get mentioned in the same breath.

Jen Gennaro:

Well, who would wanna eat banana pudding with a meatball?

Mike Gennaro:

No see, you're stereotyping my people.

Jen Gennaro:

Well, you burnt the city down Sorry.

Mike Gennaro:

And like if you we need to. Do you remember the names of the two suspects? We still don't know which.

Jen Gennaro:

Italian, it is. Oh, I remember.

Mike Gennaro:

Because I don't ever recall hearing these names in like the names just disappeared from the record.

Jen Gennaro:

They probably got ridden out of town on a log or something like that Zatango, anyway. So we have a couple of iterations of this banana festival. One, as I mentioned, this low key idea to serve banana pancakes at the farmer's market and kind of go low key or go bananas and have this big festival and what's the dish?

Mike Gennaro:

I'm trying to think of Banana is fostered because it's like the combination of flame and banana. Yes, I mean it's perfect, so we would love to be able to do that here at the press and in that comment area, to be in June, when it's hot Because it's the anniversary. Oh, June 3rd.

Jen Gennaro:

June 6th 1903.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, june 3rd 1903.

Jen Gennaro:

Yeah, anyway, it's coming up in June, guys. So we have talked to the mayor's office about it.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, anyway, all right, yeah, please let us know if y'all think this would be super fun, because I do. There's actually another banana festival somewhere else in the US where they have like the world's largest banana Pudding Pudding. Yeah, it's in the Guinness Book of World Records and it was like a one ton banana pudding.

Jen Gennaro:

I thought that was fun Guys we could get. We could get a copy, though no, we could do a one ton banana's foster.

Mike Gennaro:

That would be a lot of.

Jen Gennaro:

Burning down again.

Mike Gennaro:

no, that would be so much fire. That'd be ridiculous. One ton fire.

Jen Gennaro:

Yes, but I'm just thinking.

Mike Gennaro:

And then another Italian burns down.

Jen Gennaro:

Y'all don't even wanna know how like I got our Louisiana resale certificate so that we can wholesale order merch, and y'all just give me the word and I will go bananas on a bunch of yellow merchandise that ties into this.

Mike Gennaro:

All right. I think we let's leave it there Before we slip up. Hey, All right appeals All right, so let's take a brief break on that one. It will be right back with our guest, Jen Jennera, talking about a few more initiative.

Speaker 3:

Invest in you. The East Baton Rouge Parish Library connects people to information, resources, technology and experiences to make a positive difference in their lives. Stop by one of our 14 locations today or visit us online at ebrplcom.

Mike Gennaro:

All right, and we're back with the editor-in-chief of Portion Parish Magazine and all things, pnp, jen Genaro. So, jen, what I want to ask you next is something that is so valuable and important to me personally how is Portion Parish able to engage with the next generation, to create nostalgia, in a sense of place, for our amazing kids and those graduating from ZHS?

Jen Gennaro:

Yeah. So obviously it's our dream with having four kids and loving this community the way that we do and having formed roots and just wonderful sense of place here. I would really love if my kids would come back home after they graduate and see the world and everything. But we've got to give them something to come home to and obviously the petrochemical industry is our bread and butter here and it's what supports so many wonderful families here in town. I feel like GP, yeah.

Mike Gennaro:

Ngp and many more, yeah, yeah, many more. So there are 11 plants up and down the Mississippi River that many people could be working at. Okay, so no one's offended, right? No?

Jen Gennaro:

no one's offended, but the way I describe the Banana Festival and I promise I won't go down, I won't start ranting about this again but I imagine kids growing up going to this and then maybe they move away for college or a job or something and then they meet somebody special and they're telling them about their small town where they grew up and there's this really weird Banana Festival in town and it's always my favorite time of year, like I think about the St Gabriel Catholic Church Fair, which was like this rinky-dink little church fair in the community where it grew up, but I loved it every year and I just think about that sense of nostalgia that these kids are going to have growing up and moving home and I would love for that to be something that they want to show, maybe their future spouse. I want Zachary to have its thing now that we don't have sausage festival or Z-Fast or anything like that, and obviously we have a ton of other great initiatives by Lane and the Rotary Club and everybody else, but we need to bring the weird guys.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, bring the weird, bring the nostalgia. It doesn't have to be weird if you're not a weird person.

Jen Gennaro:

Just be a very normal Banana Festival.

Mike Gennaro:

The way I like to process it is look how insane people go over the GP paper towels. People go insane over that, but think about how authentic that is when Drew Shields was out there with the Canon shooting the GP paper towels.

Jen Gennaro:

Tell me that you weren't screaming or trying to get one. Everybody goes for the paper towels, right, but it's like the thing.

Mike Gennaro:

It is. It's an authentic business connecting back to the community. I love it. I don't think there's a better example of creating nostalgia than that right now from a business. What an authentic piece of marketing. It's so genuine. So if they can do that with paper towels, think about what you can do. We're discovering a lot of people are feeling safer now. I'm not trying to just build porch and parish up like this, but Courtney Johnson is a great example of somebody that just started to toot do art again later in life. She said last time she painted she was like 20 years old. Now she's coming to paint here for the art crawl, right, yeah, yeah. And so we were able to promote that and people gave her a great response on social. Are you discovering any new talent through uncovering local stories?

Jen Gennaro:

Well, not necessarily me personally, but Ashley McHugh with the mayor's office and economic development. She's done a fantastic job in promoting this art crawl and has done some great profiles on the artist. And obviously we have so many talented people here in Zachary already, like Chloe and Courtney Yos, and everybody.

Mike Gennaro:

Oh yeah, Chloe's awesome.

Jen Gennaro:

You know, discovering Courtney Johnson, who knew that she could paint right, I've known her for years. There's gonna be a great lineup at art crawl this coming weekend actually.

Mike Gennaro:

March 22nd. Oh no, sorry, Tomorrow is the. What is it? The bunny hop and the chili cook off.

Jen Gennaro:

The month of March, March, April, May or, like October, November, December, just constantly stacked. There's so much going on, but definitely follow the Virginia Street art crawl and get excited about all the amazing artists, not just in Zachary, but that Ashley McHugh has pulled in from other places as well. Yeah, I love that.

Mike Gennaro:

Okay, let's talk a little bit about your weekly roundups. I love these. You're getting a good response on these. It's definitely a little bit more on brand for Jen Genaro than even Portion Paris, but what's the difference? Right? Tell us a little bit about what's in this week's roundup.

Jen Gennaro:

So last week I did the February edit, which was super fun. Took me all day, but honestly I could sit there building newsletters all day long.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

So every now and then, when the inspiration strikes on a Friday, I will do this weekend lady cartoon, right. So it's just kind of like little sketches of what's going on in Zachary that weekend, and that's super fun and it gives us the ability to promote other businesses, restaurants, local artists, things like that. We have also just started a third newsletter, but this one's only gonna come out once a month and on the last day of the month, so it is a roundup and it's not just our top stories of the week and new content like we publish every Friday, but it's kind of more of a global appeal like what are we laughing about right now? And so my favorite in the February edit was that Wonka experience in Glasgow, Scotland.

Mike Gennaro:

That was amazing.

Jen Gennaro:

So it's just kind of like what we're talking about, what we're excited about.

Mike Gennaro:

That's fun, yeah, what's trending in Zachary? Basically, yeah, basically, okay, all right. Well, this begs the question Portion Parish, what is its footprint really? I mean, is it Zachary's magazine or does this incorporate surrounding areas? This is a question we've always wrestled with right. Where are we with this right now?

Jen Gennaro:

We proudly brand ourselves Zachary's Community Magazine, but we follow so many accounts under Portion Parish that we encourage people in Baker and in the Felicia and us to add their own events to our calendar.

Jen Gennaro:

As far as our online directories go, we would like to keep that pretty much just Zachary physical businesses, but I mean everybody likes to get out of town every once in a while, so we'd love to promote the market on the hill coming up in Ethel, the big bluey thing over at the river center. So things that people who maybe are new to Zachary would like to know were going on.

Mike Gennaro:

Bluey is a dog, and if y'all don't follow that, cartoon I just wanna be a parent.

Jen Gennaro:

Yeah, very parent-friendly cartoon. Yeah, they inspire me every day to be a better parent.

Mike Gennaro:

Just don't tell Emil that there's a bluey event. Are you going to that?

Jen Gennaro:

No, I'm gonna take a snout.

Mike Gennaro:

Okay, good, good.

Speaker 3:

I think it was actually last weekend, okay.

Mike Gennaro:

All right. So, yeah, looking at our surrounding cities. Parish is fun, right, Like so we could be expanding our footprint over time, right, we want to-.

Jen Gennaro:

Right and we've gotten asked that several times before, but it needs to be authentic to us. We've talked about doing a special issue called betting on Baker, as well as one specific to Eastfell, which we would love to do both of those issues later this year.

Mike Gennaro:

Absolutely yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

We would like, though, to understand the communities a little bit better before we go in and start-.

Mike Gennaro:

Telling their story. Telling their stories, right, exactly, yeah.

Jen Gennaro:

If anyone is interested in always. Please send any digital stories or story ideas to editor at PortionPariscom or give us a call. Let us know if you have an event or something you would like for us to cover. We'd be more than happy to.

Mike Gennaro:

All right, and finally, as we kind of land the plane here, talk a little bit about the funding needs at PortionParis Sure.

Jen Gennaro:

So from the get-go we have a number of advertisers who have just supported us and believed in us, just from issue number one, namely Ozark Insurance, colin Christie Watson and Zachary Spine and Sports Will Pay Framework. We have so many wonderful people who have supported us consistently, every single issue, and that means a ton to us that you'll believe in us and you continue to support us as we grow. So right now we are very close to needing four more pages in the April issue because of advertising. But so we personally have never you and I as the owners have never paid ourselves off of PortionParis. It started really as a labor of love and it's grown into that. Honestly, it is my hope now that I've quit my actual full-time job that we can grow this to the point that it does become sustainable for me to be doing this full-time. So just kind of a peek behind the curtain there.

Jen Gennaro:

Every issue costs us over $5,000 to print quarterly and then we do a couple of other special issues here and there.

Jen Gennaro:

So our printing and our post-production for podcast that's $30,000 in overhead every year and thankfully our advertisers kind of cover that typically with the print issues. But podcast all of that is directly out of our pockets. We employ a couple of people. Their salaries are self-funded and through whatever profits there are, so we would, I've, kind of kicked around the idea of a Kickstarter or a fundraiser or something like that. Haven't really committed to either of those. But I would like to say that if any of our stories have touched you or inspired you in any way, and if you like the magazine and like the podcast and what we're doing here in Zachary, I would ask you very humbly I mean, this is not an easy ask, right, but we would love your help in continuing to support community journalism and helping to keep this project alive. Right now, the only ways that we have to do that we have we're on PayPal and Venmo, as at Portion Parish, and, of course, any donation would be more than welcome, you know, whatever you can.

Mike Gennaro:

So All right. So, jen, just to kind of cap this all off what's been the most unexpected and rewarding aspect of being the editor in chief at Portion Parish?

Jen Gennaro:

Getting to hear people's stories. You know, like I mentioned before with the stories that I did last week, it's to be able to be trusted enough for somebody to tell you a story that they've never told anyone before or never publicly spoken about. That means so much to me. I believe so deeply in the mission of Portion Parish and in elevating everyone in Zachary. You know, regardless of where they came from, how they're perceived in the community, everyone has a story to tell. And getting to tell those stories and being a person that is trusted enough to do that means so much to me and I truly, I love what I'm doing here for Portion Parish and I thank you guys for reading and for listening and for encouraging and supporting us. Your feedback means so much to us. So thank you, thank you.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Mike Gennaro:

Thanks, jen. That concludes this episode of Portion and Parish, the podcast with Jen Gennaro. I hope you all enjoyed that. This was a long time coming. As you can tell, it's Jen is one of my favorite people to talk to, of course, in life, and we have a lot of fun doing what we do here, day in and day out. Big thanks to the whole team at Portion Parish, and this includes freelancers, full-timers. Ashley Evans has just been our steady ride or die homie, that's a perfect word for it.

Mike Gennaro:

Yep, love ya, honey. Yeah, big thanks to our graphic designer, tabitha. And the list goes on. Lauren Pope yeah, lauren Pope, absolute all-star writer and researcher.

Jen Gennaro:

And the counter space crew for keeping us fed the past two days, looking forward to many more.

Mike Gennaro:

Yeah, I've been on this gluten-free diet trying to get a little bit healthier and then counter space comes. And all I do is smell cookies all day and I'm like you know, bring the gluten-free. They have gluten-free cookies they're bringing them.

Jen Gennaro:

Wait, are you drinking coffee? Because you've not had coffee.

Mike Gennaro:

I know I'm. What is it? Am I off the wagon or on the wagon? I think that's called off the wagon. This is my vice guys. It's coffee and sweets, so you know it could be worse.

Jen Gennaro:

Pour some gluten on him. He's done.

Mike Gennaro:

Pour some gluten on him. All right, this is Kermit the Frog, signing off this week's episode of Portion Parish, the podcast, with Jen Gennaro. We had a ton of fun and we'll see you next week. A big thanks to all of our sponsors out there, you know, especially the school board, the city of Zachary and many, many, many more, to whom we are eternally grateful for to see you next week. Bye-bye.

Podcasts we love