Bayou Country Superfest with Parish County Line | Music Photography by Jordan Hefler

Bayou Country Superfest | Country Music Photographer | Festival Photographer | Parish County Line | Jordan Hefler

I’ve been familiar with Bayou Country Superfest as a local country music festival in Baton Rouge ever since I went to college at LSU- the festival usually takes place in Tiger Stadium and I see photos from all of my friends on Facebook every year. I may not be as well versed in the country scene as I am in the rock/hip hop world, but when you live in Louisiana country music kind of comes along with the territory. The few country artists I actually listen to seem to always be the ones that end up at BCSF, so I’ve honestly always wanted to go!

I was honored to document my friends in Parish County Line throughout the second day of BCSF 2019. They work really hard and honestly, they dominate the local country music scene. Getting to be the only local band on the bill for this nationally recognized festival was a huge deal and a very cool opportunity for everyone involved. Due to media restrictions, I was not able to photograph anything else at BCSF besides their set, but I still had a great time hanging out with everyone in the pit afterwards for Brett Young, Kane Brown, and my personal country favorite, Jason Aldean. Since Parish County Line is so well connected, I even briefly got to meet Brett Young, recent American Idol winner Laine Hardy, and recent The Voice runner up Gyth Rigdon (both who are Louisiana natives!)

It was pretty surreal photographing music in Tiger Stadium, a very very large place and where I’ve been to so many LSU football games. Getting to look out at the crowd in a stadium setting from the stage was really crazy! See my favorite shots below from the day, and contact me if you’re interested in having music or festival photography coverage in the future!

Bayou Country Superfest | Country Music Photographer | Festival Photographer | Parish County Line | Jordan Hefler

How Adopting a Dog From Companion Animal Alliance Changed My Life by Jordan Hefler

How Adopting a Dog From Companion Animal Alliance Changed My Life | Jordan Hefler

If you’ve been following along over the past month, you’ve probably seen my new little pup Ringo exploited all over my social media pages. I had always been a huge puppy lover and grew up with dogs as pets, and in recent years I had been ITCHING to adopt a pup of my own. As a solopreneur I am always thinking about the financial risks of owning a business and how my income can be inconsistent, and that mindset held me back from looking into dog adoption for so long.

Each summer I suffer from some sort of seasonal/entrepreneurial depression that comes from my severe hatred for humidity and hot weather as well as the lack of photographic opportunities I have between May-August. All spring I had been talking to everyone I knew about adopting a dog in anticipation for finally having something to DO during the summertime- albeit a financial burden during a season of predicted financial hardship. I believe that the universe throws things at us that we are ready for, and there were way too many signs pointing to the fact that it was time to finally adopt a new best friend.

How Adopting a Dog From Companion Animal Alliance Changed My Life | Jordan Hefler
How Adopting a Dog From Companion Animal Alliance Changed My Life | Jordan Hefler

One of those signs was the opportunity to be on a team of influencers for Baton Rouge’s Companion Animal Alliance. Although I am all about saving the dogs and promoting pet adoptions, I originally felt like I wouldn’t be a good fit for promoting awareness for the organization if I didn’t have any intentions of adopting a pet through them. Also, I didn’t know anything about what they did. I decided to meet with the rest of the team and do a tour of the shelter to learn more about what CAA does and how they need help spreading the word about their efforts to my community. You can probably guess what happened next….

Not even 1 minute into the tour I spotted a beagle in the second bay that we passed. I had always wanted a beagle and in my mind I had already named him Ringo after the drummer of my favorite band, The Beatles. I always imagined Ringo and I doing all types of things together (y’all I have trouble identifying my ideal client in my head but I ALWAYS was able to identify my ideal dog.) That tour we took was after hours so I couldn’t really stop and meet this dog (his shelter name was Carlton!!!) so I went home and kept him in the back of my mind. Carlton had such a different look about him and was already 2 years old, so I figured that would be perfect for me. Within two days I decided I needed to go back and spend some time with him out of the kennel, and the very next day after that I had made up my mind that I needed to adopt him. SO I DID!

I learned so much about Companion Animal Alliance through this process, like how they get upwards of 40 new animals brought to the shelter A DAY in the summertime. A DAY!!!! CAA has a policy where they don’t turn any animals away no matter what. They strive to adopt out as many as they can and have upped the save rate of animals to 70% from 20% since 2010. Carlton’s/Ringo’s story was that he was found at some truck stop 2 weeks prior. For many animals at CAA, the shelter amenities are a step up from their lives on the streets or tied up to some rope neglected. CAA relies on volunteers to come to the shelter and play with these animals, take them out for walks, take them out on “dates” as part of their “date a dog” program, and share photos of them on social media to help spread the word about who is available to be adopted.

Adopting Ringo completely changed my life. It is 1 month to the day since I adopted him, and it feels like I’ve had him for a lifetime. He still suffers from a bit of separation anxiety, so my schedule has changed drastically, and my perspective of time has also completely shifted. I legitimately feel like I’m on maternity leave and every minute I have I want to spend with him because we make each other so happy. Ringo has taught me patience, self discipline, time management, and the value of my life and time altogether.

I feel so grateful to be able to train him and give him the love and affection he must have been lacking before his time at CAA. I can’t praise CAA enough as an organization. There’s a lot of false information out there about “kill shelters” but the stats of CAA are publicly available. Yes, these animals are in a shelter and it can be sad to think about the outcomes of some situations. However, it is encouraging to know that there is an organization doing everything in their power to get these animals fed, vaccinated, played with, cared for, potentially reunited with their original owners, and vigorously marketed for adoption to people like me who didn’t know what they were missing out on this whole time.

My life is so much brighter now and I can’t even remember what it was like before!

If you have been thinking about going through the pet adoption process, I highly recommend you take a tour of the new Companion Animal Alliance shelter on LSU’s campus! Adopting through them is a huge way you can help, but there are more ways too. I just completed volunteer orientation this week and can’t wait to see how I can help CAA with pet photography, dog walking, donating blankets/newspapers, and writing blog posts like this to share my experience!

Here are some really great blog posts from others about ways you can help CAA without straight up adopting:

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Companion Animal Alliance

Five Ways You Can Help Companion Animal Alliance

If you have any questions about CAA or the adoption process, feel free to contact me and I can put you in touch with someone!

Follow Ringo on Instagram here!

How Adopting a Dog From Companion Animal Alliance Changed My Life | Jordan Hefler