Dig Baton Rouge

Olive With a Twist

By Claire Salinas


Forum 35 is bringing the roaring ‘20s back to the Red Stick with a prohibition inspired networking reception complete with artwork and cocktails.

The ban on alcohol during the Prohibition Era in Louisiana was regarded as merely a suggestion and treated mostly as a joke. Out of this sentiment, Olive Leonhardt and Hilda Phelps Hammond partnered together to write Shaking Up Prohibition in New Orleans: Authentic Vintage Cocktails from A to Z, which was published in 1929. The book originally included satirical poems with each recipe, which gawked at the idea of the Big Easy being a dry city.

The exhibit of all 26 of Leonhardt’s pen and ink drawings and the cocktail recipes they inspired are currently on display at The LSU Museum of Art in conjunction with the 2015 republication of the original recipe book.

A reception for the recipes called Olive With a Twist will be held, and according to Forum 35’s Social Chair Lea Ciskowski, young professionals will be able to “meet people in an authentic way.” The reception will offer guests an opportunity to sip on cocktails, admire the artwork from the book, and network.

“I think it’s easier to network in a situation where there’s a topic involved,” said Ciskowski. “This gives people an opportunity to connect on a personal level and hopefully that will evolve into a professional connection. I think it takes the stress off of professional networking.”

Ciskowski is a native of Dallas who decided to remain in the Red Stick after graduating from LSU a year ago.

“I like it that much,” said Ciskowski. “It’s been quite interesting and unique to see the evolution of Baton Rouge even from the past four years of college to graduating and starting a job. I just see so much potential in Baton Rouge.”

An area in which Ciskowski has noticed growth throughout the city is the culinary and art realms.

“I think the culinary thing is pretty fantastic, and we have a lot of interesting restaurants that are popping up and the emergence of food bloggers has really become popular over the past two years,” said Ciskowski. “Also there’s Art Melt, White Light Night, and a lot of different opportunities to see artwork.”

Forum 35 is an organization dedicated to the advancement of Baton Rouge and is very aware of just how much the city is changing.

“It’s about leadership and fostering leaders in our community to continue the Cultural Revolution happening in Baton Rouge. I think Baton Rouge is coming into its own. We’re kind of helping to give Baton Rouge a name for itself.”

Ciskowski explained the event was designed to be as laid back as possible so that connections could be made in a more natural way.

“It’s a very laid-back event where you can enjoy the art,” said Ciskowski. “I’m not an extremely forward or outgoing person, so I think it’s nice to have something else to talk about instead of pressuring someone. I just like to meet people, and it might evolve into professional relationships one day. I think this is the most authentic and genuine way to form any kind of relationship. I think business and personal relationships should always be founded in authenticity.”

The event will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the LSU Museum of Art and is free and open to the public. The Manship Theatre will be offering a selection of vintage cocktails, and there will also be a cash bar.


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