Communication in History: The Key to Understanding
Episcopal students had tremendous success at the National History Day Baton Rouge Regional Competition. This year’s theme was “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.” Congratulations to the following students.
Senior Group Exhibit
1st place – Communication in Social Media by Mary Ann Crawford and Haley Wright
2nd place – Black Lives Matter: Protesting in Sports by Cameron Butler, Grant Gueho, JaMarcus Parker and Parker Rozas
3rd place – The Invention of the Telephone by Avery Barylak, Logan Burge and Claire Kiesel
4th place – Impact of the iPhone by Nic Chrest, Wade Roberie and Benton Searles
Senior Group Documentary
2nd place – The Communication of Beauty through History by Francie Oliver, Lucy Pellegrin and Caroline Wilcox
3rd place – Spies, Codes, and Sabotage by Marigny Albery, Alexandria Streuli and Millie Veillon
Senior Group Performance
1st place – History of Dance by Jane Crawford and Anna Katherine Harrell
Senior Individual Exhibit
2nd place – Propaganda During World War II by Brandon Franks
3rd place – How Communicating with Spirits have Changed throughout the Years by Donald Newton
4th place – How Computer Coding Changed History by Caden Gardner
1st place – Finding Light in Gaza by Mira Badawi
2nd place – Failure of Communication: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study by Analise Hyde
Former History Day Participant Works Toward Social Studies Distinction
Junior Isabella Ruiz who participated in the History Day competition last year was recently an eighth grade guest teacher. Isabella shared what she learned about the Cuban revolution and refugee crisis. The topic is a part of Ruiz’s family story as her grandmother immigrated from Cuba years ago. Ruiz shared the History Day documentary she created to tell that story with the Middle School students. Ruiz’s teaching experience is part of her effort to earn a social studies distinction.
Mu Alpha Theta State Convention Results 2021
On March 27th, 34 students (including four Middle School students) attended the 2021 Mu Alpha Theta State Convention. This hybrid tournament included a virtual “speed round” where Episcopal students competed against students from across the state and an in-person round hosted by Catholic High School. Episcopal placed 3rd in the state, behind only Catholic High School and Brother Martin of New Orleans, both 5A schools! Individual and Team Results are as follows.
Youth Legislature Success
Youth Legislature produces future leaders! Eighth graders Ryder Bond and Scarlett Spender were elected to leadership positions by their peers. Ryder was elected Governor and Scarlett was voted as President of the Senate.
"Our group has shown that you don’t have to do traditional research.” Abhay Basireddy, 2021 ESTAAR student
In an unusual year, three Episcopal seniors found a way to continue the scientific exploration they love through the ESTAAR or Episcopal Students Take Action in Advanced Research program. For several years now, ESTAAR has offered Upper School students the opportunity to work with LSU professors and gain valuable experience in a university laboratory. Past students have spent hours in the lab monitoring tests and measuring data. In a year so impacted by pandemic protocols, that traditional lab access was in question. Fortunately, the restrictions didn’t stop Abhay Basireddy, Matthew Bickham and Gregory Field as their fields of interest didn’t require traditional lab time. “The stars aligned for them,” says Guillory. “They didn’t lose out as much as another group would have.” The trio successfully completed their projects and recently presented them on the VPAC stage on LAUNCH Day.
Application of the Fast Fourier Transform in Modeling the 3D Navier-Stokes Equations
Automatic Slab Creation and Flood Prevention within Autodesk Revit
Breath Monitoring: Analyzing Breathing with Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds
LAUNCHing Research on the VPAC Stage
“I’m proud of them,” says Guillory. “I’m proud of their work. They never faltered.” The ESTAAR LAUNCH Day presentations marked the culmination of a two year journey. Like all ESTAAR students, the trio initially began by taking the Scientific Research Methodology and Experimentation (SRME) course their junior year. The course is designed to help Upper School students prepare for college level research. The students say the SRME course prepared them well for the ESTAAR experience as they were equipped to write papers, conduct background research and digest scientific papers. No doubt, the past two years and the students’ innate inquisitiveness will prepare them for similar success in the next step of their educational journey.
The ESTAAR program is a great example of the science, technology, engineering and math offerings available at Episcopal. This commitment to STEM even earned the school a spot on Newsweek’s Top 500 STEM High Schools in America list. Read more about that ranking and other Episcopal STEM efforts here.
Join us in congratulating this year’s ESTAAR students in the comments section below!
Episcopal students continue to have success through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge. Recently, junior Quentin Messer received $500 in seed funding for his business proposal for Modele, and ninth grader Joey Roth was awarded $1,200 for his Chef’s Weigh idea.
Despite pandemic restrictions, the YEA BR organizers were able to put together an experience that the students appreciated. Quentin says there were virtual field trips that were still interactive. Both students mentioned that a virtual visit to a McDonald’s franchise was a highlight of the experience. Students took a look behind the scenes, learned more about new technology to optimize the burger business and discussed the corporate culture with the franchise manager. In addition to virtual field trips, students had the opportunity to learn from LSU business professors and local entrepreneurs. Joey says he particularly enjoyed the opportunity to hear the story of Anne Milneck who established the successful Red Stick Spice Company.
YEA BR students have accomplished much in a short period of time. Not only did Quentin and Joey earn seed funding, but they also registered their business with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office. “It’s so crazy to think I have a business and I’m 14 years old,” says Joey with a smile. Quentin, who says he enjoyed the opportunity to write a business plan and work with a mentor, was equally as excited. “I did this,” he says with a smile. Quentin has advice for anyone considering the YEA BR experience. “100% do it.”
YEA BR is currently accepting applications. Click here to read more. Click here to read more about Episcopal’s Thomas O’Connor who competed in the national event last year.
Episcopal math teachers offer an array of math learning opportunities beginning with the foundations of math in Lower School and progressing through AP math courses in Upper School. Many students also pursue their passion for math beyond the classroom with tremendous success. Here are a few recent examples.
Middle School students Nate McLean and Luke Stelly recently qualified for the MATHCOUNTS state competition based on their individual scores on the chapter invitational. MATHCOUNTS coach and Middle School math teacher James Moroney says the top five students from each chapter invitational and the top 10 overall individual scorers from the state qualified. The competition is set for March 25th.
“I am happy that I qualified for the state competition because I worked hard, and it paid off,” says Nate. “I am excited to test my skills against the top math students in the state.” Nate, who also participates in cross country, soccer, track and geography club, says he enjoys math “because I like to solve problems and find patterns.”
Luke is also excited to advance to the next round. He says he has always been interested in math, and he enjoys participating in MATHCOUNTS. “I find it easy,” he says. “It’s a good brain teaser.” Luke also plays soccer and football. He says a MATHCOUNTS competition is “not as tense as the sports and everyone’s more chill.” Luke, who previously won several trophies with the Middle School Mu Alpha Theta group, says he plans to compete with the Upper School group next year. In the meantime, he recommends MATHCOUNTS to his classmates. “If you like math, it’s fun,” he says.
The MATHCOUNTS mission states that “MATHCOUNTS provides engaging math programs to U.S. middle school students of all ability levels to build confidence and improve attitudes about math and problem solving.” The organization accomplishes this mission by offering a national competition series. Students compete on the local, regional and state level for the opportunity to move on to the national round where the ultimate prize is a $20,000 scholarship. The competition includes sprint, target, team and countdown rounds which measure a student’s speed, accuracy, problem-solving and math reasoning skills.
AIME Qualifier X 3
Young Math Enthusiast Co-Authors Paper
A Shared Love of Math
“It’s exciting to see that there are kids getting excited about math,” says Math Department Chair Stephen Anderson ’02. He points to the persistence and determination that all students develop when tackling a challenging math problem. In Middle School, Moroney enjoys seeing his students continue math success as they advance to Upper School and eventually college. He appreciates how students approach each challenge. “They come up with different ways to do this and explore that,” he says. “They’re making connections and discovering really cool ways to solve problems.”
There is also a sense of belonging and community that is created when students work together or participate in math groups with their peers. Like a sport or an artistic talent, a shared love of math helps students make friends with classmates outside of their normal group and even outside of their school. It is the common denominator that brings them all together.
Congratulate these outstanding math students in the comments section below.
Episcopal Knights Help Save the World at Model United Nations
Episcopal students helped lead the global response to an alien invasion at a virtual Model United Nations conference the weekend of February 26-28, 2021. In addition to responding to a surprise crisis involving the arrival of alien spacecraft in Antarctica, students debated and passed resolutions addressing global issues including fair trade, election security, health care, housing and clean water.
Juniors Lucy Pellegrin and Molly King were recognized for outstanding resolution, for a resolution on election security. Junior Davis Eglin and senior Preston Kyle successfully passed a resolution related to global supply chains through the Economic and Social Council, while junior Alex Engstrom and senior Nick Delahaye cosponsored a resolution that passed the United Nations Security Council. All students were prepared with resolutions that were debated virtually, and the Episcopal Knights were lively and impassioned advocates for the countries they represented.
This year’s delegation included seniors Abhay Basireddy, Nick Delahaye, Preston Kyle, and Robert Xing; juniors Davis Eglin, Alex Engstrom, Molly King, Ria Mehrotra, Lucy Pellegrin, and Caroline Wilcox; sophomores Katherine Fivgas and Sophia Horridge; and first years Kathy Hu and Ayush Patel. Students met on campus at Penniman Hall for the online conference, which was chaperoned by Dr. Kuhn and Dr. Way.
Mock Trial Competes at Regional
On Friday, February 23, Episcopal fielded three Mock Trial teams at the Region Three Regional Mock Trial competition, hosted by the Baton Rouge Bar Foundation and held on Zoom. The Denim team advanced to the semi-final round and faced tough competition from the team from Zachary High School who advanced to the state contest. The case problem, Barry Jackson, on Behalf of Minor Child, Charley Jackson vs. Grande City Zoo, was a civil case involving a personal injury at a tiger exhibit. The teams were coached by attorneys Chip Marionneaux and Joseph Scott. Congratulations on a great showing!
Junior Classical League Convention Results
The purpose of Junior Classical League is to encourage an interest in and an appreciation of the language, literature, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and to impart an understanding of the debt of our own culture to that of Classical antiquity.
Episcopal students Arya Patel (President of EHS JCL), Robert Xing (VP), and Ayush Patel participated as delegates and competitors in the Louisiana State Junior Classical League Convention over the weekend of March 5-7. Convention this year was virtual. Many of the competitions were adapted to accommodate physical distancing. Delegates from across the state took part in virtual meetings, held elections for next year's board of officers, heard colloquia talks from an LSU classicist and an astrophysicist, got to know each other during fun activities like a scavenger hunt and a trivia mixer, tested their wits against each other in Certamen, tested their bodies in Olympika, tested their minds in academic tests, displayed their artistic creations in graphic arts and their performance abilities in creative arts.
In overall school performance, Episcopal ranked third among participating schools.
Individual competition results: (Title of Contest, Level of Contest, Rank)
In Academic Sweeps, (overall individual academic performance), Arya Patel ranked fourth among all participating students.
In Olympika Sweeps (overall individual athletic performance), Ayush Patel ranked third among all participating students.
In Overall Individual Sweepstakes (across all individual competitions), Ayush Patel ranked eighth among all participating students, and Arya Patel ranked fourth.
Team Competition results: (Title of Contest, Rank)
GA1-Spirit 2 -- a cheering competition; students had to film themselves performing a series of cheers to earn points for the school
Roll Call 3 -- a video to introduce the school to the other delegations; students film themselves conveying the information, and often perform a skit at the same time to liven up the presentation
Upper Certamen 1 -- team captain Robert Xing, Arya Patel, Ayush Patel (quiz bowl for classics)
Science Fair Honors
Young Pianists Earn Gold
Eight Episcopal students participated in the Baton Rouge Piano Solo Festival Event, and all eight received the superior rating certificate. This rating is the highest that can be achieved at the festival. The following students received their first gold cup. A gold cup is rewarded to students who receive the superior rating certificate for three years.
Diya Kankar (6th)
Alexander Williams (6th)
David Gboloo (5th)
Aryav Mehta (4th)
Greyson Sevier (4th)
Emma Soignier (4th)
Bryton Butler obtained his first gold cup in 2020.
Julia Whitney obtained her first gold cup in 2019.
Please join us in congratulating these outstanding students on their recent success. Share your message in the comments section below.
Congratulations to Episcopal’s twelve National Merit Finalists and three Commended Scholars! The fifteen students represent approximately 15% of the Class of 2021.
National Merit Finalists:
This February, Lower School students danced joyfully to the music of famous Black musicians like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. They also created art inspired by artists Romare Bearden and Alma Thomas. In Middle School Morning Meeting, students learned about the origins of Black History Month, Juneteenth and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Episcopal community also celebrated Black History Month with classroom discussions featuring a celebration and recognition of the contributions of Black leaders throughout history. The effort is ongoing and continues with the following Upper School activities.
A Sense of Belonging and Support
Merriam-Webster defines community as a unified body of individuals. The Episcopal community is united by a common mission to educate the whole child – spiritually, intellectually, morally, physically and artistically. As the definition suggests, a community is made up of individuals. With a diverse student body, Episcopal is also a place for individuals to find that special group of friends. Finding your group is important. Whether it’s a common love of art, a relatable desire for success on the field or a shared culture, there is something meaningful about being with those who have a similar story to your own, even as you explore the diverse nature of the world.
A group of Upper School students has discovered this sense of belonging and kinship through a Black student affinity group. What initially began as a six-member student focus group to discuss the Black student experience has transformed into an informal group with ever-increasing student participation. Science teacher Jennifer Purnell says the group provides a space for Black students to connect with each other in a different context and form new and meaningful friendships. The world can be confusing and isolating for teenagers, and Black students may feel like an island among their peers. The affinity group provides a space for students to be themselves in a comfortable and familiar setting. Purnell says it has been rewarding to see the group come together. Older students are serving as mentors to their younger classmates, and meaningful discussions are taking place.
Over the years, as Episcopal has sought to create an inclusive community, these discussions have increased. In 2017, Assistant Athletic Director Jimmy Williams reflected on his experience as an Episcopal student compared with that of his young son. “There is no question that Episcopal is becoming increasingly diverse,” he wrote in a school blog post. “This diversity spans race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geography, religion, and language. Acknowledging Episcopal’s diversity is an important step to living and learning with others in our school community. Can Episcopal improve? Sure, we can. Everything has room for improvement.”
Recently, members of the Black student affinity group looked for opportunities to continue the discussion by sharing more about Black History Month with the larger school community. Students self-organized to share information on notable Black figures. They created posters highlighting influential figures in math, science, athletics, the arts and much more. The board on display in the Field House even featured Williams for his success in the NFL. The displays were well received by faculty and classmates, and the effort is something Purnell hopes students can build upon in the future. Going forward, Purnell and the students will continue meeting and finding ways to contribute to the overall student experience.
The support found among peers has proven important for the affinity group students. That sense of community is also important as students prepare for the next phase of their lives. This month, the College Counseling team will offer a panel focusing on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help students delve deeper into what these institutions have to offer.
Panel Discussion on Historically Black Colleges and Universities
As a college preparatory institution, Episcopal has a comprehensive College Counseling department. With three full-time College Counselors, students receive one-on-one support as they make one of the most important decisions impacting their future. Counselors provide a range of panel discussions, an annual college fair and significant test prep resources.
College Counseling Director Justin Fenske says recently the counseling team has seen an increase in student interest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He points to Episcopal students who are having considerable success at HBCUs including Kolin Bilbrew ’20 – Southern University, Alex Dumas ’16 – Spelman College, Cameron Dumas ’18 – Xavier University of Louisiana, Ellis Herring ’16 – Morehouse College, Kristine LaMotte ’18 – Spelman College and DJ Morgan ’20 Xavier University of Louisiana.
In the past, Historically Black Colleges and Universities have participated in the annual Episcopal college fair and visited students on campus. This year, to meet student interest, counselors have organized a virtual panel discussion focused on HBCUs with representatives of Dillard University, Morehouse College, Southern University, Spelman College and Xavier University of Louisiana slated to participate. Students will have the opportunity to hear directly from school representatives about what their institutions offer. They will also be able to ask questions and learn more about the pros and cons of attending an HBCU. The panel discussion is open to 10th and 11th grade students and is scheduled for March 10th. The following week, the counseling team will offer a general college panel for juniors on March 17th.
Episcopal schools are intentionally diverse communities serving people from a range of religious, cultural and economic backgrounds. We are a community united to help all students as they prepare for lives of meaning and purpose.
Andrea Norwood’s thesis explores the topic of censorship by comparing the advent of the Internet’s impact on modern Chinese censorship with the invention of the printing press and its effects on the Catholic Church in the 15th and 16th Centuries.
Please enjoy the podcast she produced that reacted to the recent tension between the US Government and the popular social media app TikTok, featuring an interview with Thesis advisor, Clara Howell. In this audio, Andrea explores the eternal conflict between companies and governments and what that tells us about the latest manifestation of US-China Tensions.
Louisiana State Penitentiary, 1970s. Armed inmates acted as guards, convicted felons organized prison sexual slavery, and murders raged on throughout the correctional facility nicknamed Angola Prison. In fact, between 1972 and 1975, there were a total of 350 “serious stabbings” and 40 inmate deaths. According to Kevin Brown, “for those inside, both inmates and prison staff, the experience [was] one of constant fear and danger.” No one wanted to work at Angola, and no one wanted to serve their sentence there. Angola was one of the bloodiest and most dangerous prisons in the United States. There was no order or security. In order to try to find some control in the dangerous world that was Angola Prison, prison employees sent inmates who showed even the most subtle disobedience to solitary confinement, sometimes for decades at a time. It was here, in the bowels of Angola, a place inmates were sent after having violated prison rules, where more subtle dangers existed.
In a six by nine by twelve foot cell stands Robert King, an inmate at Louisiana State Penitentiary. Completely alone for twenty-three hours each day, King paces back and forth, his mind occasionally racing and occasionally blanking. After being convicted of killing another prisoner and having an affiliation with the Black Panther Party, King was sent to solitary confinement for twenty-nine years before his release in 2001. This was the reality for the 1970s, 80s, and even 90s Angola Prison. Prison administrators believed that solitary confinement was the best form of punishment for inmates with behavioral issues. In reality, it was counterproductive and led to more disobedience and bad behavior.
During his time spent at Angola, King experienced years of psychological abuse, rarely hearing people speak and participating in meaningful human interactions. He describes it as almost worse than “total sensory deprivation.” When people ask him how he came out of it sane, he states “it’s impossible to get dipped in waste and not come up stinking,” alluding to the fact that he is not in any way similar to his prior self before being socially isolated for over two decades. Along with the psychological trauma he endured by spending so much time alone, he developed vision problems after his eyes had been acclimated to short distances for such a long period of time. The very violence that was happening inside Angola’s prison was landing prisoners in the hell that is total isolation, which ironically did not correct behavior and led to inmates developing mental health issues. Like King says, no one comes out sane. Solitary confinement is a dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy. And for decades, Angola stayed like this: dangerous.
However, all this changed in 2018 when Angola Prison decided to observe and restructure their administrative segregation unit. Following the lead of other prisons nationwide and with the help of Assistant Warden Perry Stagg, Angola has implemented a new, transparent system that attempts to mitigate the negative psychological effects of isolated housing. Warden Stagg explains that administrative housing has changed drastically over the past few years. It is no longer a place with heavy, steel doors trapping inmates inside. Doors are almost always open, but when they are closed, they are made of steel bars for inmates to see and talk through.
Also, administrative housing has become a leveled system with guidelines for how inmates can move through the levels to be released back into the general population. There are less restrictive and more restrictive housing options depending on the severity of prison crimes and behavior records. Additionally, Angola has implemented a tier-walking program. This program trains inmates to look for signs of mental distress and report them. This has been put into place to reduce self-harm and suicide attempts in restrictive housing units. All of these additions have made a significant impact on the administrative housing system at Angola. Assistant Warden Stagg explains that before the COVID-19 pandemic he saw a dramatic decrease in inmates being sent to restrictive housing. However, Angola cannot stop here.
The reforms made by Angola Prison have been fairly recent; therefore, the success of the restructuring effort will not be known for quite some time. But, some success has already been observed. Assistant Warden Stagg says “[the number of inmates in restrictive housing] was going down rapidly before COVID hit.” If Angola’s program experiences even a fraction of the success that similar restrictive housing restructuring programs have observed, like Maine State Prison, the amount of inmates and the time inmates spend in restrictive housing will continue to plummet dramatically.
The question therefore becomes, where do prisons go from here? Numbers of isolated inmates and time spent in isolation will most likely decrease. With these tentative results, Angola will be able to use the newly available space and correctional officers to implement more extensive reform and rehabilitative measures, such as substance abuse, therapeutic, mental health, or educational programming. These are just a few ways that Angola can take the results of their restructuring and further them to integrate rehabilitation into the prison community, centering prison culture around reform and rehabilitation. Most beneficial may be Angola transforming former isolation cells into mental health units where inmates who developed mental health issues during their time in isolation can go to therapy, take classes, and attempt to recover from their time spent in solitary confinement.
Angola has changed drastically in the past four decades. It has transformed from America’s worst prison to one of the most progressive. It realizes that total isolation and sensory deprivation is detrimental to the mental health of inmates, is counterproductive, and puts the entire prison community at risk. However, the remedies Angola has in place are very recent and prisoners are still suffering from mental distress, especially those who have spent considerable time in isolation like Robert King. Angola Prison should consider prisoner experiences like King’s when deciding how to proceed with prison reforms. I often wonder how different King would be--healthier, saner, happier--if he had experienced the reforms Angola has developed during his time in prison.
As I reflect on my times during the shelter-at-home mandate, shopping comes to mind. I was stuck in my home, as we all were, with little to do. I found myself contributing hours of my day to online shopping. No guarantee I would buy anything, but shopping was a form of “entertainment” for me during this lifeless and uncertain time. However, as I scrolled through Instagram multiple times a day, I noticed small boutiques in Baton Rouge were advertising more than ever, so I began online shopping on their sites. Why not support our local community’s boutiques?
The reality is that businesses in the local community took an extreme hit during the spring quarantine leading to furloughed employees, strained financials, and the stress of having to shut down. Around April, a report which surveyed 6,000 small businesses reported that nearly 31% of small businesses in Louisiana were at risk of permanently closing due to the pandemic. Some restaurants in the Baton Rouge area, like White Star Market and Rum House, had to permanently close. The stress and financial crisis was worsened by COVID-19 and some closures seemed inevitable. All businesses were fearful and anxious about what was to come for their business.
Boutiques buy season to season, so with the cancellation of weddings, parties, dances, rush, and every event you can think of, what were boutiques going to sell? From April until May, when retail stores were forced to shut down, online shopping ramped up. According to the Baton Rouge Area City Stats Report, 48% of people replaced some in-person shopping with online ordering during the pandemic, and 33% of the EBR online shoppers were shopping for clothing. With people shifting to online shopping during this time, boutiques realized there were additional methods and techniques to gain customers and promote their products amidst the shelter at home.
Boutiques are often family-owned and run. Therefore, they are investing in not only their financial capital but their human capital. A pandemic is not ideal for a boutique. Innovative thinking has never been so crucial as owners navigate this new shopping landscape. New, modern, and digitized marketing methods, therefore, are significant in the times of COVID-19. Two popular boutiques in the Baton Rouge area, Eros and Head Over Heels, each took their own ways and incorporated fresh techniques to keep their boutiques afloat. Their techniques required methodical and fascinating approaches.
Located in Towne Center, Eros boutique has served as a go-to shopping destination for residents. The boutique's strategically-curated collection of high-end clothes, shoes, handbags, and accessories offers a chic and bold style. With the shelter at home mandate, Eros knew they needed to act fast. According to Andrea, the head of sales manager, they immediately began promoting "shop with us online." Every post had a link to the website as a reminder that people could shop with them at home. They concluded that Instagram drives the website because people will forget about them if they do not promote themselves on Instagram. In the first month, they did "20% off your entire purchase and free shipping." This discount was a huge incentive for people to keep shopping. A problem that arose for Eros was the limitation on shipping vendors, so they had to focus on the casual ones that could ship and keep the goods coming. Since people could not leave their homes, they wanted to purchase comfortable, machine washable, and super casual loungewear. After all these approaches, they took another step to make it even easier for the customer by offering local delivery, curbside pickup, and free shipping. Eros has put their heart and soul into tackling this challenge by continuously pushing and promoting their store.
Another Baton Rouge boutique, Head Over Heels, offers a destination for customers to shop in a friendly environment. Due to their prevalence online and on social media, switching to a digital-centered business model has been the key to staying afloat during the pandemic. While they could not physically have their doors open for some time, they continued to help customers shop through several resources. According to the social media coordinator Hadley, they shifted their focus towards online sales, offering curbside pickups, local deliveries, and free shipping. Head Over Heels took it a step further by offering virtual try-on sessions for customers who wanted to try clothes. 90% of their sales were generated from their website, while the other 10% was from Instagram and Facebook marketing. A new, creative marketing strategy the store took on was instead of posting their usual three to four pictures a day, they decided to double that number. This type of user-engagement is crucial for their store because it allows them to have a constant presence on social media and stay on people's radars. According to their website analytics, an increase in the average session spent on the website increased. Head Over Heels even increased how they showed support for customers. This incorporated occasionally offering discounts to generate sales, which engaged their customers and kept their sales up amidst the pandemic. Their involvement and incorporation of new techniques led them to capitalize in a time of uncertainty and financial scare.
Even though small businesses have been particularly vulnerable throughout the pandemic, they have done an extraordinary job keeping their businesses going. New approaches and techniques through Instagram have saved them and kept customers interested and buying. The difficulty following ever-changing local guidelines has not stopped the boutiques. Despite the hardships and uncertainty that came for the local business community, specifically boutiques, Baton Rouge needs to keep up its robust environment for small businesses. All businesses can look at Head Over Heels and Eros' adaptation techniques and apply them. The past several months have been extremely challenging, but recognizes the importance of making an online presence. The time has come to defeat these uncertain challenges and put in the extra work and determination to keep one's business up and running and not fall short to the economy and country's circumstances.